MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - Lebanon is currently flying its army drones over the northern city of Tripoli, in attempt to control the continuing clashes which broke out Friday with Sunni Islamist gunmen, the Lebanese state news agency NNA reported Saturday.
"We discussed the current security situation, and assured that Tripoli does not patronize any terrorism party and it supports the Army to resume security in the city," former Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati was quoted as saying after a meeting of Tripoli dignitaries.
According to the news agency, the clashes between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the militants, claimed to be affiliated to Islamic State (IS) fighters, left nine soldiers and four civilians injured, including one photojournalist.
The incident occurred in the city's market area, causing damage to buildings and property as the soldiers tried to reinstate order.
The militants called for help from al-Qaeda and other jihadists but received no response, the agency reported.
The LAF has faced an increasing number of assaults in Tripoli recently as gun battles between troops and Sunni jihadists picked up in August in the northeastern border town of Arsal, according to a report by Naharnet.
Tripoli has experienced episodes of clashes between Sunni militants and the Lebanese Alawite Shiite minority following the spillover of the civil war in Syria in 2011 into Lebanon.
The IS begun fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
Although the IS does not control territory in Lebanon, the militant group occupies areas in remote eastern Lebanese mountains from where it launches attacks.