Five suicide bombers attack Lebanese soldiers raiding Syrian refugee camps

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
BEIRUT
Published 30.06.2017 09:43

Five suicide bombers attacked Lebanese soldiers as they raided two Syrian refugee camps in the Arsal area at the border with Syria on Friday and a sixth militant threw a hand grenade at a patrol, the army said. Seven soldiers were wounded.

A Lebanese army statement said one suicide bomber had detonated his explosive laden belt in front of an army patrol during a manhunt for suspected militants in a refugee camp in the northeastern border town.

The army said four other suicide bombers blew themselves up without causing any injuries among soldiers, while another militant threw a grenade at a patrol, injuring four soldiers.

During the raids an explosive device blew up while four other explosive devices that were being prepared by the militants were defused.

A Lebanese security source reported that the army unit was raiding the two camps after receiving information that some "members loyal to [Daesh terrorist group] were hiding in the two camps."

The Lebanese army has in recent months stepped up raids in the makeshift camps built on the edge of the town where tens of thousands of impoverished Syrian refugees who had fled violence in their country in recent years live in squalid conditions.

The camps around the town have long been a haven for militants coming from Syria who have clashed with Lebanese forces conducting security raids searching for suspects hiding among the refugees.

Lebanon is home to more than 1.2 million refugees, who mainly live in several informal camps scattered across eastern Lebanon. According to UN estimates, some 70,000 Syrian refugees live in camps in and around Arsal.

The militants briefly overran the town in 2014 in a battle that killed dozens and marked one of the more serious spillovers of the Syrian conflict in Lebanon.

A number of attacks in Lebanon in recent years have been linked to the war in Syria, where Lebanese group Hezbollah is fighting in support of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

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