New wave of sectarian kidnappings sweep through northern Lebanon
Arsal is a majority Sunni Muslim town whose inhabitants generally support the revolt in neighboring Syria. (Al Arabiya)
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A new wave of sectarian kidnappings took place around Arsal, a sensitive area in northeast Lebanon, on Sunday, a security official told AFP.
A source speaking on condition of anonymity told the news agency: "Unidentified gunmen kidnapped Hussein Kamel Jaafar, aged 37, in the countryside near the town of Arsal."
"After that, dozens of armed members of his clan went to Arsal from Hermel and Baalbek [eastern Lebanon] and kidnapped several of the town's residents," the source added.
Residents of Arsal reportedly claimed about eight people from their town were kidnapped on Sunday, although AFP's security source could not confirm the figure.
The kidnappings have been put down to divides between Sunni Arsal and the majority Shia populations of Hermel and Baalbek,
Lebanon has seen frequent outbreaks of violence linked to the war in neighboring Syria. The country's Sunni population are largely in support of the Syrian revolt while Shias back the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an alewite whose faith is an offshoot of Shia Islam.
Sunday's incident comes seven months after dozens of foreigners, mostly Syrians, were abducted by the another Shia clan, Al-Muqdad.