Gunmen kidnap Lebanese civilian near Syria border

The abduction comes weeks after another civilian was kidnapped and later killed by militants

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Gunmen kidnapped a Lebanese civilian in Arsal on Saturday, a month after militants from Syria clashed with the Lebanese army in the restive border town, a security source said.

The abduction comes weeks after another civilian was kidnapped and later killed by militants, who accused him of "collaborating" with Hezbollah, which has deployed thousands of troops in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

Arsal saw a fierce battle in August pitting the Lebanese army against militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The fighting killed 20 Lebanese troops, 16 civilians and dozens of militants, who withdrew to the Qalamun mountains across the border, kidnapping dozens of Lebanese troops and policemen.

Two of the kidnapped troops have since been beheaded, despite attempts mediated through Qatar to solve the hostage crisis.

On Saturday, a security source told AFP: "Gunmen at dawn kidnapped Ahmad al-Hujeiri from the town of Arsal."

The unidentified gunmen kidnapped him "because he disagreed with their political views," the source added.

An official in Arsal confirmed the kidnapping, and said Hujeiri was accused of "collaborating with Hezbollah".

The clashes and kidnappings in Arsal have sent tensions in Lebanon soaring, with a series of tit-for-tat cases of hostage-taking occurring last week in the eastern Bekaa valley.

Arsal is home to a majority Sunni population that generally backs the Syrian revolt against Assad. It is located in the Bekaa, home to a majority Shiite population that backs Hezbollah and the Assad regime.

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