Lebanese army battles gunmen at Syria border, 16 killed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Lebanese army fought Islamist militants near the Syrian border yesterday, killing 11 militants, a security official said, in a move against al Qaeda-linked gunmen who earlier had seized a police station and killed two soldiers.

The gunmen included fighters from the Islamic State, a radical Sunni group that has seized control of large areas of Syria and Iraq, Lebanese security officials said.

The fighting in the border town of Arsal marked some of the worst spillover violence since Syria’s three-year-old war began, and risked exacerbating tensions in Lebanon among sectarian groups at odds over the Syrian conflict. At least three civilians were also killed, and 16 members of the security forces were taken hostage after fighters from the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, seized the security building, security source said.

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