BEIRUT (Reuters) – Extremist militants have released a Lebanese soldier they seized last month from a town at the border with Syria where they have clashed with the Lebanese army, security sources and state media said on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear why the soldier, identified by Lebanon’s state news agency as Kamal al-Hujairi, had been released. He was seized while visiting his family’s farm near the border town of Arsal last month, the National News Agency said.
Militants are believed to be holding about 15 Lebanese soldiers and 15 other members of the security forces captured during an incursion by gunmen – including some linked to the Islamic State (IS) group – into Arsal in August.
IS militants have beheaded two captive soldiers and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has killed another.
The Sunni Muslim militants regularly accuse Lebanon’s army of cooperating with Shiite movement Hezbollah – which has sent fighters to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – and want Lebanese authorities to free militants held prisoner.