July 11, 2017 / 8:09 PM / 5 months ago

Lebanese army kills Islamic State-linked militant - sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese army has killed a man suspected of links to Islamic State and of carrying out bomb attacks in the town of Ras Baalbek near the Syrian border, a security source and a military source said on Tuesday.

The Syrian national was shot dead during an operation launched after the army received intelligence that an Islamic State-linked cell was meeting, the security source said.

A Lebanese national suspected of weapons smuggling was also arrested in the raid, and the army discovered several bombs, an explosive belt, and nearly 50 kg (110 pounds) of explosives, the source said.

The operation took place in the Arsal area, where the army says it has been carrying out a major security operation against suspected militants. In late June, authorities arrested several hundred people in raids on refugee camps in Arsal.

Some attacks in Lebanon have been linked to the six-year-old war in neighbouring Syria, where Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah is fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a televised speech, Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah praised the security campaign waged by the army and warned that time was running out for Syrian militants along the border area in Arsal to reach reconciliation deals with the Syrian authorities.

“It’s high time to end the threat of militant groups in Arsal and little time is left to reach certain reconciliation deals,” he added.

“There are terrorists and planners of attacks in Arsal and this needs a solution.”

Hezbollah fights alongside Syrian government forces on most of the major front lines in the country’s civil war.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Suleiman al Khalidi; Editing by Andrew Roche

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