Lebanese army launches overnight attack against jihadists at border

Published February 26th, 2015 - 08:00 GMT

The Lebanese Army overnight fortified fixed positions along the border with Syria, pounding jihadi positions with an artillery barrage, security sources said Thursday.

The sources told The Daily Star artillery batteries were sent forward late Wednesday night to reinforce the Lebanese Army and took up positions in Talet al-Hamra and Wadi Rafeq on the outer edge of Ras Baalbek in the eastern part of Lebanon.

They said artillerymen hammered Daesh and Nusra Front positions deep inside Lebanese territory.

The sources said the military operation lasted 45 minutes.

Last month, the Lebanese Army maintained a near-daily pattern of pounding militant positions on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek for about 10-15 minutes every few hours in a bid to repulse new possible attacks by Syria-based jihadis as the military has vowed to eradicate terrorism from Lebanon.

That move came after eight soldiers, including an officer, were killed and 22 others were wounded in fierce clashes with Daesh militants on outer edge of Ras Baalbek near Lebanon’s eastern frontier with Syria.

More than 40 militants were discovered on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, most of whom were killed in Army airstrikes on their vehicle convoy. The fighting erupted after Daesh militants attacked and briefly overran the Army post in Talet al-Hamra.

That was the most serious attack since Daesh and Nusra Front militants fought a five-day fierce battle with the Army in the northeastern town of Arsal in August. The two militant groups still hold 25 soldiers and policemen hostage on Arsal’s outskirts after capturing more than 37 during the Arsal fighting. Four have been killed, while some others have been released.

By Nidal Solh

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