BEIRUT (AP) — Explosions, including five suicide bombings, shook a Lebanese border town early on Friday, killing a Syrian girl and wounding seven Lebanese soldiers as the army raided several refugee settlements, the military said.
The Lebanese army has been battling militants who have thrived in the border area with Syria during the neighboring country's civil war, now in its seventh year. Tiny Lebanon of 4.5 million people has also been grappling with an influx of over 1 million Syrian refugees who escaped violence at home to find refuge in Lebanon.
According to an army statement, the soldiers were conducting early morning raids on Friday in the town of Arsal, when the attacks took place. The town and the surrounding area was the scene of a major cross-border attack in 2014, when a number of Lebanese soldiers were abducted.
The military said one suicide attacker blew himself up among a family of Syrian refugees during the raid in al-Nour settlement in Arsal, killing the girl.
Also in al-Nour, three soldiers were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his suicide belt near them. Three other men wearing suicide vests blew themselves up in the same camp. It was not clear which of the four suicide bombings killed the girl.
Elsewhere in al-Nour, other attackers detonated an explosive device while a military expert defused four other devices, the army said. In another settlement, al-Qariya, a fifth suicide bomber blew himself up but no one was hurt in that blast.
Four soldiers were wounded when a hand grenade was tossed at the troops. Al-Jadeed TV and other local media reported that about 400 people were detained during and after the raids, including some wanted militants believed to belong to an al-Qaida-linked group and the Islamic State.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.