BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese army said on Thursday one person was killed and two wounded during a search for suspected militants at refugee camps near the border with Syria.
Soldiers shot at three people on a motorbike who were trying to set fire to parts of a refugee camp during the raids, killing one and wounding the other two, it said.
After dark, the army fired artillery at suspected militants who tried to infiltrate from the border zone, apparently setting off land mines as they did so, a security source said. There were an unknown number of casualties among the militants.
The army has been stepping up efforts to prevent fighters from Syria using the Lebanese border town of Arsal and surrounding areas as a base. Arsal was the scene last month of the deadliest spillover of fighting in the three-year civil war in Syria and is also home to tens of thousands of refugees.
The army says that hundreds of people have been arrested, mainly Syrians accused by authorities of being members of groups such as Nusra Front, Syria’s al Qaeda wing, which is fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Security sources said the number detained in the past two weeks had reached about 450.
Anti-Assad insurgents often cross the border, using Arsal to rest or seek medical treatment. On Thursday the army said it had detained four people believed to be linked to Nusra Front.
Clashes last month in and around Arsal killed dozens. Islamist militants captured a group of Lebanese soldiers during the fighting and have since killed at least three of them. They are believed to be holding more than a dozen others.
Sunni Muslim militants and other groups in Syria accuse the Lebanese army of working with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi‘ite movement that has sent fighters to help Assad’s forces.
Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Tom Heneghan