Three gunmen killed in clashes with Lebanese army: source

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 23, 2015 3:24 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - At least three gunmen were killed in clashes with Lebanese soldiers close to the border with Syria on Friday, a Lebanese security source said, in an area that has seen regular incursions from Islamist militants fighting in Syria's war.

A group of gunmen launched a large-scale attack on an army outpost close to the village of Ras Baalbek, near Lebanon's eastern frontier with Syria, wounding at least five soldiers, and the army responded with artillery, the source said.

It was not immediately clear which group the attackers belonged to but Syria-based jihadist groups such as al Qaeda's Nusra Front and the ultra hardline Islamic State have attacked Lebanon in recent months.

The army said in a statement that the clashes were continuing in the desolate area close to Ras Baalbek and that the army was shelling positions after the attack by a "terrorist group." It did not give any details about casualties.

Ras Baalbek is near the town of Arsal where Sunni Islamist militants staged a deadly incursion in August and seized a group of Lebanese soldiers. The militants have since killed some of the soldiers and around two dozen remain captive.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans and Alison Williams)