Military to take control of Tripoli

After three days of sectarian clashes, the Lebanese government on Monday authorized the army to take control of the northern city of Tripoli for six months, a decision meant to allay fears that fighting in the country’s second-largest city was spiraling out of control.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati made the announcement after a high-level security meeting at the presidential palace, saying the army has been empowered to take necessary security measures to keep the peace in Tripoli.

Troops will conduct patrols and arrest suspects, he said.

Security officials say 12 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Tripoli since Saturday, when the latest round of violence erupted. Sectarian clashes linked to the war in neighboring Syria often flare there between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The fighting had been concentrated in two impoverished rival neighborhoods in the port city. The Bab al-Tabbaneh district is largely Sunni Muslim, as are most of the rebels fighting in Syria. Residents of Jabal Moh­sen, a neighborhood perched on a hill, are mostly of Assad’s Alawite sect.

But the fighting has spread to other parts of the city in the past few days, with snipers on rooftops, gun battles and rocket fire.

— Associated Press

Islamist fighters attack air base

Hundreds of Islamist militants in trucks and a stolen armored personnel carrier attacked an air force base and international airport on the outskirts of a Nigerian city before dawn Monday, officials and witnesses said, possibly leaving scores of people dead.

The attack “incapacitated” two helicopters and three decommissioned military aircraft, Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said in a statement. He said some army bases also were hit.

Twenty-four insurgents were killed and many were wounded, Olukolade said, and two air force personnel were also wounded.

The state government ordered residents to stay home and extended a nighttime curfew to 24 hours in Maiduguri, the city near the air base and the birthplace of the extremist Boko Haram movement. The militants also attacked Maiduguri International Airport.

— Associated Press

Thailand allows protesters to enter government compound: Anti-government protesters in Thailand crossed heavily fortified barriers and reached the gates of the prime minister’s office in Bangkok without resistance from the police early Tuesday. Police also removed barricades on a road leading to the nearby city police headquarters after agreeing to let the protesters into the building. The unexpected reversal of strategy by the government suggests it no longer wants to confront the protesters after three days of clashes.

U.N. force to use drones in eastern Congo: A new fleet of drones will be launched this week in Congo’s troubled east, where one rebel group was recently disarmed but many more continue to occupy the thick jungles. United Nations peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous said the five drones will be “an essential tool” in the peacekeeping mission’s military plan. Now that the M23 rebel group has been defeated, he said, the United Nations needs to turn its attention to other militias operating in eastern Congo.

Power outage in Venezuelan capital: A power outage briefly darkened Venezuela’s capital and several other parts of the country Monday night, prompting renewed talk of sabotage from President Nicolas Maduro. The blackout took place shortly after 8 p.m. Within minutes, people in downtown Caracas banged on pots in protest. Monday’s outage appeared similar to a massive Sept. 5 blackout that was one of the worst in the country’s history.

Concerns grow about Pompeii: Collapsing walls at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have raised fresh concerns about Italy’s efforts to maintain one of the world’s most treasured sites, preserved for nearly 2,000 years but now crumbling from neglect. On Monday, site officials said part of a wall had collapsed on one of Pompeii’s major streets after weeks of heavy rains and wind. In addition, plaster had fallen off the wall of the ornately frescoed House of the Small Fountain. A series of collapses in Pompeii over the past month led Italian media to dub it a “Black November” for the ancient city, preserved under ash from a volcanic eruption in A.D. 79.

— From news services