Masked gunmen shoot policeman in Lebanon's Tripoli

Photo: Masked gunmen shoot policeman in Lebanon's Tripoli / Arab World

Masked gunmen shot dead a policeman on Friday in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, security sources said, the second killing of a member of the security forces in two days, Reuters reported.

Friday's shooting came a day after Prime Minister Tammam Salam's new cabinet approved a security plan for the city, where at least 29 people have been killed in the last two weeks.

The security sources said Boutros Bayaa was killed instantly when the gunmen opened fire on his car at around 5:30 a.m. (0330 GMT), hitting him in the head.

Fighting has raged in Tripoli this month between members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, and majority Sunni Muslims - who have also clashed with security forces.

The violence in Lebanon, still recovering from its 1975-190 civil war, has been fuelled by the civil war in neighboring Syria, where mostly Sunni rebels are battling to topple Alawite President Bashar al-Assad.

Salam's predecessor Najib Mikati announced in December that he had given the army full responsibility for restoring control in Tripoli, but the move failed to stem the bloodshed.

Officials have not given details of the latest security plan for the city, agreed on Thursday at the first meeting of Salam's cabinet since his government won a vote of confidence in parliament last week.

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