Gunmen 'kill 3 Lebanon soldiers' near Syria border
- Published: 28/05/2013 at 01:49 PM
- Online news:
Three Lebanese soldiers were killed overnight by a group of gunmen near the Syrian border, the army said on Tuesday, in the deadliest such attack since the start of the Syrian uprising.
File picture shows a Lebanese military roadblock in Arsal in February 2013. Three Lebanese soldiers were killed overnight by a group of gunmen near the Syrian border, the army said on Tuesday, in the deadliest such attack since the start of the Syrian uprising.
"Around 3:30am, an army position in the Wadi Hmayyed-Arsal was attacked by an armed group in a black Jeep," an army statement said.
"The soldiers at the checkpoint faced off against the attackers, clashes ensued and three soldiers were killed," it added.
"Searches are continuing in the area for the armed men who escaped into the neighbouring field," the statement said.
A security source earlier told AFP the attack had taken place east of Arsal, a town in northeastern Lebanon where most residents support the Syrian uprising.
In a statement, President Michel Sleiman condemned the attack as "part of a series of terrorist, criminal acts that seek to instigate discord in the country."
And Prime Minister Najib Mikati denounced the "aggression" and talked of the "difficult circumstances" through which Lebanon was passing.
Since the start of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad more than two years ago there have been outbreaks of deadly violence on the Lebanese border.
Two Lebanese soldiers were killed in Arsal in February when an army patrol was ambushed while chasing a wanted man. The incident sharply raised tension between residents and the army.
Lebanon is deeply divided over the war in Syria, and the majority Sunni Muslim village of Arsal is a particular flashpoint as refugees and fighters hostile to the Assad regime traverse the border.
Three mortar shells fired from Syria on Monday killed at least one woman near the eastern Lebanese town of Hermel, a bastion of the Hezbollah movement, a security official told AFP.
On Tuesday, two more hit the area. The first lightly wounded two people on the outskirts of the town, and the second injured on person inside the town, the source said.
The powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah is actively involved in the Syrian conflict, fighting alongside troops against rebels. It is currently engaged in fighting rebels in the central town of Qusayr and has lost dozens of its men.
Since the start of the Syria conflict in March 2011, a number of rockets and mortar shells have struck Lebanese territory.
On two occasions, the rebel Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the attacks in response to Hezbollah's involvement.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised "victory" to his supporters in the battle taking place, notably in Qusayr.
On Monday, rockets fell for the first time in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a stronghold of the Shiite movement.
The Syrian crisis is also spreading in northern Lebanon, where fighting between Sunnis and Alawites, the sect to which Assad belongs, killed 31 people last week.
The Syrian regime is led by the Alawite minority community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, while the majority of the country's population are Sunnis.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency