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      Israel Watches Syrian Factions Battle in Lebanon

      Israeli defense personnel are watching closely as Syrian gunmen begin to carry their battle into Lebanese territory.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 5/14/2012, 11:51 PM

      Sunni gunman in Tripoli's Bab al-Tebbaneh neighborhood
      Sunni gunman in Tripoli's Bab al-Tebbaneh neighborhood
      Reuters

      Israeli defense personnel are watching closely as Syrian gunmen begin to carry their battle into Lebanese territory.

      Earlier this month, the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee issued an authorization for a call up for as many as 22 IDF battalions to guard the northern and southern fronts after hearing testimony from security officials. Almost immediately, six battalions were activated

      Pro and anti-Syrian factions within the Lebanese population clashed in the streets of the Bab al-Tebbaneh neighborhood of Tripoli on  Monday, firing assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs).

      At least five were killed and 100 wounded by the third day of sectarian violence in Lebanon's second-largest city.

      The Lebanese army did nothing to interfere with the violence, instead taking a position several hundred meters away, according to a reporter for the Associated Press.

      Sunni Muslims supporting the rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battled against pro-Assad members of Lebanon's small Alawite sect, one related to Shi'ite Islam.

      In Syria, as in Tripoli, the majority of the population is made up of mostly Sunni Muslims.

      But in Lebanon the Hizbullah terrorist organization is comprised of Shi'ite Muslims, similar to those in the Ayatollah-ruled Islamic Republic of Iran. Hizbullah, led by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has made significant inroads into Lebanon's government and gradually is taking control over the population as well.