Lebanon News

4 killed, 7 wounded in northeast Lebanon blast

Lebanese soldiers stand at a checkpoint at the entrance of Arsal, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)

BAALBEK, Lebanon: A blast ripped through Lebanon's restive northeastern border town of Arsal Thursday, killing at least four people and wounding seven others, a security source told The Daily Star.

The source said the explosion, which targeted a meeting of officials responsible for following up on the conditions of Syrian refugees, was caused by a suicide bomber on a motorbike. He said the attacker was among the four killed.

The explosion targeted the so-called Committee of Qalamoun Scholars, which is made of Syrian clerics. It was unclear what was the purpose of their meeting was.

It was also unknown to which group the suicide bomber belonged and what his motivation was for carrying out the attack.

Committee head Sheikh Othman Mansour, who was present at the meeting, is in critical condition, the source said.

Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr tasked the Military Police and Army Intelligence with conducting the preliminary investigations.

Both the dead and wounded were transported to Al-Rahma hospital in Arsal.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees reside in Arsal and its outskirts.

Islamist militants have been holed up in the rugged mountains around Arsal since they engaged in heavy clashes with the army in August 2014 after gunmen affiliated with ISIS and the Nusra Front attempted to take over the town.

The Arsal region has been hit by several deadly car bombs and suicide attacks over the past couple of years, mostly targeting military posts.

The Lebanese Army is believed to have been behind an airstrike near Arsal last month that killed eight people, mostly militants.

 

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