BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army killed three men and arrested several others during a raid on an apartment containing weapons and ammunition where authorities suspected an attack was being planned, security sources said on Thursday.
The sources said the apartment in the northern town of Asoun housed Lebanese and Syrian gunmen wanted by authorities, including an Islamic State fighter accused of beheading a soldier.
Lebanon, still rebuilding after its own 15-year civil war, has seen clashes between gunmen loyal to opposing sides of the Syrian conflict, as well as militant strikes on the army and cross-border attacks by Syrian rebels.
The Lebanese army has stepped up its efforts to prevent fighters, most notably from al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, from crossing into Lebanon, but it is ill-equipped and has repeatedly called for more military aid.
“The raid happened at 5am. One soldier was wounded,” a security source said on condition of anonymity.
Militants have kidnapped 33 members of the Lebanese security forces, the sources say, most of them taken during an incursion into the northern town on Arsal in August, the deadliest spillover of Syria’s three-year-old civil war into Lebanon so far.
The militants have since killed three of the soldiers in captivity.