Lebanon: three killed in attack on army post

The car bombing targeted a military checkpoint near the border with Syria

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A suicide car bombing targeted a Lebanese army checkpoint near the town of Arsal close to the border with Syria on Saturday, killing at least three soldiers, Al Arabiya correspondent in Beirut reported.

“A suicide bomber detonated his car in front of a Lebanese army checkpoint at Aqabet al-Jurd in the Arsal area,” one security officiall told AFP.

A Lebanese army statement said the attack happened at 19:00 and it was carried out using a black KIA, killing three soldiers and wounding four others.

It said the attack was to avenge the death of Sami al-Atrash, a suspect wanted in connection with car bombings targeting Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

Atrash was killed on Thursday in a shootout with the army.

The army had described Atrash as a “dangerous terrorist” who was tracked down to a hideout in Arsal, where he was killed.

The Arsal region has seen a spillover of the conflict across the border as Syrian regime forces backed by fighters from Hezbollah press their campaign against rebels.

Most Sunni Muslims in Lebanon back the rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Sunni groups have targeted Hezbollah interests in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon with car bombings in the past months.

Hezbollah claims that the car bombs were prepared in the Qalamun region just across the border and the scene of fierce fighting, before being driven via Arsal to their eventual targets.

Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah have gained ground in Qalamun, in mid-March seizing Yabrud, the last major stronghold of the rebels.

On Saturday, Syria’s military said the troops seized two villages from the rebels as they pressed their offensive with Hezbollah support.

A Syrian military source called the latest advance “a new step towards closing off the border with Lebanon”.

Liwa Ahrar al-Sham also claimed a March 16 car bombing in eastern Lebanon that killed two people.

The same attack was also claimed by Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, with both groups saying it was in revenge for the fall of Yabrud.

[With AFP]

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