April 7, 2015 / 9:58 AM / 4 years ago

Lebanese army says three militants killed near Syria border

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Three unidentified militants were killed in clashes with Lebanese soldiers who launched an operation near the Syrian border early on Tuesday to retake control of a hilltop, the Lebanese army said.

The area around Al-Makheirma hill outside Ras Baalbek village has seen regular incursions from Islamist militants fighting in Syria’s war.

Four other militants were wounded in the clashes, the army said in a statement. It did not specify which groups the combatants belonged to but said the operation aimed to “eliminate terrorists” to prevent them targeting soldiers and civilians in Lebanon.

Syria-based groups such as al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Islamic State have attacked Lebanon and taken soldiers captive since last summer in some of the worst spillover from the four-year civil war.

Tuesday’s operation destroyed a large number of weapons used by the militants, the army said.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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