BEIRUT: Suicide bombings, explosives and hand grenades targeted Lebanese soldiers during morning raids Friday in refugee settlements in a border area with Syria. The attacks killed only the attackers but seven troops were also wounded, the military said.
The Lebanese army has been battling militants who have thrived in the border area with Syria during the neighboring country's civil war, now in its seventh year. Tiny Lebanon of 4.5 million people has also been grappling with an influx of over 1 million Syrian refugees who escaped violence at home to find refuge in Lebanon.
An army statement said the soldiers were conducting early morning raids on Friday in the border town of Arsal, when the attacks took place. The area was the scene of a major cross-border attack in 2014, when a number of soldiers were abducted.
The statement said that on one of the raids, at the al-Nour refugee settlement, three soldiers were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his suicide belt near them. Three other men wearing suicide vests blew themselves up in the same camp while others detonated an explosive device. A military explosive expert defused four other devices, the army said.
At another settlement, al-Qariya, a fifth suicide bomber blew himself up, wounding no one.
Four soldiers were wounded when a hand grenade was tossed at the troops. Local media said over a hundred people were arrested during the raids.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.