Army death toll hits 18

BEIRUT – A Lebanese army soldier has died of wounds sustained in clashes with jihadists near the Syrian border, raising the number of troops killed in the fighting to 18, the army said.

The fighting broke out on August 2 when jihadists from Syria attacked army and police posts in the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal after the arrest of a militant accused of belong to Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

During the fighting, 19 soldiers and 17 policemen were seized by the militants and are still being held hostage.

The Lebanese army began deploying into Arsal on Friday, after a group of Sunni clerics negotiated a truce that saw jihadists withdraw.

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