Lebanon army vows to fight ‘terror’ after troops killed

Lebanon’s army vowed to battle 'terrorism' hours after a suicide bomber killed three soldiers on Saturday

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Lebanon’s army vowed to battle “terrorism” hours after a suicide bomber killed three soldiers on Saturday at a Lebanese army check point near the town of Arsal, near the Syrian border.

"The army knows that it is now more than ever targeted by terrorists who want to prevent the establishment of the authority of the state and its attempts to eliminate discord," the military said in a statement issued late on Saturday.

The announcement came as Lebanon’s new security plan came into effect on Sunday. The strategy is meant to minimize spillover violence from war torn Syria, which has increased turmoil in Lebanon’s north and east as clashes break out between those who support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and those against him.

The army command "will continue to fight and pursue terrorists, and is determined to implement the security plan... whatever the sacrifices," the statement said.

Saturday’s attack was claimed on Twitter by a group calling itself Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna – Arabic for the Brigades of the free Sunni Muslims. The group also vowed more attacks on the army.

"The next few days will see several jihadist and blessed attacks like this one. This is only the beginning," the group’s statement said.

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

It said Saturday's attack was to avenge the death of Sami al-Atrash, wanted in connection with car bombings targeting Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah which has been fighting alongside Assad's forces.

Extremists groups claim the army discriminates against Sunnis who back the Syrian uprising and of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah sending fighters across the border.

The Arsal bombing was the second such suicide attack targeting Lebanon's military since an attack on Feb. 22 killed two soldiers and a civilian, again in the east of the country.

The suicide car bomb was detonated at the Aqabet al-Jurd checkpoint in the Arsal region, a Sunni town where citizens support the rebels fighting against Assad. The town is also home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

(With AFP)

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