Body of slain soldier returned to Lebanese army

AP News
Posted: Sep 01, 2014 10:58 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's military received the remains of a soldier Monday who was held by Islamic militants, the state-run news agency said. The soldier, Sgt. Ali Sayid, was believed decapitated.

Sayid's remains were delivered to a military checkpoint in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, the National News Agency reported.

The body was returned days after supporters of the extremist Islamic State group distributed a video purportedly showing a man they identified as Sayid being decapitated. Sayid's uncle told Lebanese television Friday that the images on social networks resembled his nephew.

The Lebanese military would not confirm the body's identity, only saying in a statement that its intelligence unit received the body and DNA tests would be performed.

The Islamic State group has seized a wide swath of territory in Syria and Iraq and the U.S. has conducted airstrikes in northern Iraq to halt the advance of Islamic State fighters. It has also rushed assault rifles and artillery to the Lebanese military and is considering extending its air campaign to Syria.

Sayid disappeared from Lebanon around the time militants from Syria attacked Arsal in early August, killing and kidnapping soldiers and police. The militants included fighters from the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front, becoming the most serious spillover of violence into Lebanon from Syria's civil war.

Families of the seized soldiers have blocked roads and set up protest tents, demanding the government find a way to release them.