UN expresses concern over Lebanon border battle with IS that killed 8 soldiers

In this Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Lebanese army special forces patrol in armored personnel carriers near the area where militants ambushed Lebanese soldiers, in Ras Baalbek town, eastern Lebanon. AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File

BEIRUT – The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag expressed “grave concern” Sunday over a border battle between Lebanese forces and Syria-based fighters from the Islamic State group that killed eight soldiers, as the chaos of Syria’s war increasingly threatens the security of its Mediterranean neighbour.

Kaag issued her statement as Lebanese television broadcast funerals of the soldiers killed during the fighting near the northeastern Lebanese village of Ras Baalbek on Friday, after what appeared to be a cross-border attack from neighbouring Syria.

A security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the attackers belonged to the militant Islamic State group.

Kaag “expressed grave concern over the attack on the Lebanese army Friday in the area of Ras Baalbek, that led to the deaths of eight officers and soldiers and caused a number of injuries,” the statement said.

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Friday’s attack was the most serious attack since militants seized over 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen in a cross-border raid in August 2014.

On Sunday, Lebanese forces opened fire on suspected militants they said were in an abandoned amusement park on the eastern border with Syria.

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