Tripoli residents strike to protest deadly clashes

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Residents of the northern city of Tripoli held a general strike Monday to protest the deadly clashes that gripped the area last week, killing at least 14 and wounding 52.

The streets of Lebanon's second largest city were vacant as most shops, centers and schools were closed following the two-day clashes between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad.

The strike followed the return of a tenuous calm Sunday, due in large part to enhanced security measures on the part of the Lebanese Army.

Despite the general calm, sporadic fire was still being heard in the city. The Army, following late night talks by officials in the city, moved into Syria Street at around 8 a.m. Sunday, the National News Agency said. Syria Street divides the pro-Assad neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen from the Bab al-Tabbaneh, whose residents back the Syrian uprising.

Prior to the military intervention, residents said overnight fighting with assault rifles, machine guns, grenades and mortar bombs was the fiercest in the second largest Lebanese city since the height of the 1975-1990 Civil War.

The escalation in violence in Tripoli, weeks after similar clashes between the rival neighborhoods led to the killing of 11 people and the wounding of over 100, prompted politicians and local officials to call on the army to intervene.

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