Suicide bomber wounds several Lebanese soldiers in north: security sources

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A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and lightly wounding several Lebanese soldiers in the north of the country on Friday, security sources and the army said.

The incident took place in the town of Arsal close to the Syrian border.

Security forces were carrying out an arrest raid specifically targeting the bomber when he blew himself up. He was wanted for involvement in a previous bomb plot, an army statement carried by the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.

The army denied reports that security forces had also seized two cars rigged with explosives, as stated earlier by the security sources. It did not elaborate.

Lebanon’s army has regularly clashed with Islamist militants around Arsal who often come across the porous border with Syria.

The six-year Syrian conflict has sometimes spilled over into its smaller neighbour Lebanon, including bomb attacks in Beirut in 2014 and 2015.

Militants briefly overran Arsal town itself in 2014 before being driven out by the army.

The army says it still regularly stages operations targeting Islamic State and former al Qaeda-linked militants in the mountainous border region.

Hezbollah, Lebanon’s powerful Shi’ite Muslim group, recently said it was dismantling all its military positions along the eastern border with Syria, and this area would now be patrolled solely by the Lebanese army.

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