January 24, 2015 / 3:03 PM / in 3 years

Lebanese army says three more soldiers killed in Friday's attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese army said on Saturday three more soldiers were killed in fighting on Friday between troops and militants who attacked an army post near the border with Syria.

The army said on Friday it lost five soldiers in an attack near the village of Ras Baalbek in an area that has seen regular incursions by Islamist militants fighting in Syria.

A Lebanese security official, who asked to remain anonymous, said dozens of militants were killed in fighting that ensued.

The army said it repelled the attack on its post and its units were chasing the remaining fighters who fled to the mountainous areas around the village.

It was not immediately clear which group the attackers belonged to but Syrian-based Islamist groups such as al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the hardline Islamic State have attacked Lebanon in recent months.

Ras Baalbek is near the town of Arsal, which Sunni Islamist militants attacked last August and seized a group of Lebanese soldiers. The militants have since killed some of the soldiers and about two dozen remain captive.

Lebanon’s security has been repeatedly jolted by the Syria conflict, which has also contributed to the country’s political paralysis. Lebanon has been without a head of state since May.

Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Ros Russell

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