• Lebanon army detains IS commander near Syria border

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    BEIRUT: The Lebanese army said on Friday it had detained a leading local Islamic State group commander and 10 other members in a raid near the border with Syria.

    The army said special forces and other troops carried out the dawn attack on an IS headquarters in the mountainous eastern area of Arsal.

    “They clashed with (IS) fighters with different weapons and managed to break into the headquarters where they captured 11 of them, including the dangerous terrorist and IS emir (leader) of Arsal, Ahmed Yousef Amun,” it added.

    The army said Amun was seriously wounded in the operation, and a medical source told AFP he had been transferred to a hospital in Beirut for emergency treatment.

    The army said Amun was involved in preparing car bombs used in attacks in various parts of Lebanon, including the southern suburbs of Beirut.

    It also accused him of involvement in attacks on army posts during fighting in the region in August 2014 when IS and Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate briefly overran the town of Arsal.

    As the jihadists withdrew, they abducted 30 soldiers and policemen, five of whom were subsequently executed.

    The 16 hostages held by Al-Qaeda’s affiliate, known then as Al-Nusra Front, were released in December 2015 after lengthy negotiations, but there has been no progress on the release of the nine held by IS.

    Lebanon has been rocked by periodic bomb attacks, often targeting strongholds of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which have killed scores of civilians.

    Hezbollah has sent fighters to Syria to bolster President Bashar al-Assad’s government against rebel forces, among them jihadists. AFP
    AFP/CC

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