Three killed in Lebanon as Islamist militant blows himself up – security sources

Three killed in Lebanon as Islamist militant blows himself up - security sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A suspected Islamist militant killed himself & two members of his family in northern Lebanon on Saturday when he blew himself up during an army raid on his home, security & medical sources said.

The army has carried out a series of raids since two suicide bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State killed 44 people in a crowded commercial & residential area of Beirut last month.

Saturday's operation took place in the town of Deir Ammar, northeast of the city of Tripoli. The explosion killed the wife & mother of the suspect, whose name was Mohammed Hamzeh, a security source said.

The source said Hamzeh was part of a group that had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

At least 10 other people were wounded in the blast, including four security personnel.

Bullet holes & bloodstains marked the walls & staircase inside the building after the raid.

Security forces carried out further raids in the same town after the incident, & arrested several Lebanese & Syrian nationals, the security source said.

A Lebanese court charged 26 people last week with belonging to Islamic State, 23 of whom were directly linked to the Beirut bombings on Nov. 12 which targeted a Shi'ite Muslim suburb.

The Syrian civil war across the border has routinely spilled over into its smaller neighbour, with Sunni militants bombing Shi'ite targets, clashes between gunmen who support opposing sides in Syria, as well as between the Lebanese army & Islamists.

Al Qaeda's Syria wing on Tuesday freed 16 Lebanese security personnel it had held since August 2014 in return for the release of jailed Islamists.

The army shelled militant positions on the outskirts of the northern border town of Arsal Saturday, a security source said, in ongoing skirmishes in the area. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

(Reporting by Nazih Siddiq, John Davison & Walid Saleh; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: “Reuters”