Lebanon: Soldiers wounded in Arsal refugee camp raid

At least four Lebanese soldiers were wounded in a large army operation in refugee camps near the village of Arsal at the Lebanese-Syrian border, local media reported.

Five suicide bombers blew themselves up during the army raid in Al Nour refugee camp east of Arsal near Wadi Atta, security sources told Reuters news agency.

The army arrested more than 150 Syrian refugees, including a large number of suspected rebel fighters from the surrounding the area, Tayyar media reported.

Witnesses reported hearing intermittent bursts of gunfire in the area.

The wounded soldiers were airlifted to hospital by a Lebanese army helicopter, Tayyar reported.

About 70,000 Syrian refugees live in camps in and around Arsal, some of the more than one million Syrians who have fled to Lebanon.

Lebanon’s military has stepped up its crackdown on fighters connected to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in the remote area close to the Syria border.

About 1,500 fighters are still believed to be operating near the flashpoint town of Arsal, which was overrun by ISIL in 2014.

Across the border, advances by the Syrian army, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, last year cut off the rebels from the east, leaving them surrounded in an area straddling the border.

Both the ISIL and the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fateh al-Sham are still there, living in caves, ramshackle homes and other makeshift dwellings, according to the Lebanese army.

Lebanon’s army targets ISIL fighters near Syrian border (May, 2017)

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies