Lebanese Soldier, Militant Killed in Shootout

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Updated at 1:06 pm (GMT +2): A Lebanese soldier was killed Tuesday in a shootout that erupted during a raid on a militant hideout in northern Lebanon, the army said.

The soldier, 32-year-old Mohammad Hussein, was shot dead by a suspected militant during the dawn raid in the town of Bhannine in the northern Akkar region, a military statement said.

Soldiers returned fire, killing suspect Abdel Rahman Ahmad Tamer, described as a member of a "terrorist group" that ambushed an army patrol north of Lebanon's second city Tripoli in October, killing four army officers.

After the raid, the army searched for other suspects in homes and gardens in the area and set up checkpoints, Lebanon's official National News Agency said.

Security agencies have been conducting raids in north Lebanon, particularly in Tripoli and Akkar, in search of suspects who have launched attacks on army units or joined hardline groups fighting in neighboring Syria.

The army raid on Tuesday came hours after unknown assailants killed the brother of the region's main Alawi politician, Ali Eid.

Badr Eid, who was in his 60s, was shot as he drove through a village in the Akkar region, according to a security source in Eid's Arab Democratic Party.

Lebanon has seen a string of clashes and explosions linked to the conflict in Syria.

Last month, violent clashes erupted overnight between the Lebanese army and unidentified militants along the border with Syria and left three Lebanese soldiers injured.

In recent months, the Lebanese army has fought several battles against jihadists crossing in from across the restive border with Syria.

The deadliest battle took place last August in the border town of Ersal with jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, al-Nusra Front.

The Ersal violence left 16 soldiers dead and 85 wounded, while dozens of jihadists are said to have been killed, along with three civilians.

Islamist militants withdrew from the town to its outskirts, taking with them 25 captive Lebanese soldiers and policemen, four of whom they have since executed.

In October, Lebanese troops fought deadly clashes with ISIS and Nusra jihadists in the northern city of Tripoli.

The fighting left 42 people dead, including 11 soldiers and eight civilians.

ISIS has captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, declaring what it calls a cross-border Islamic ‘caliphate,’ killing thousands and displacing millions in the two countries.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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