SIL Withdraws from Arsal, Seven Lebanese Troops Freed

Seven Lebanese soldiers were set free after militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group withdrew from Arsal Thursday following an army operation by the Lebanese Army.

Security sources told The Daily Star the Lebanese Army found three members of the Internal Security Forces at a house that had been occupied by terrorists, following a 90 minute battle that ended shortly after midnight.

Around 8:30 am, another four ISF members turned themselves in to a Lebanese Army checkpoint in Ain Al-Shuob.

A Lebanese Red Cross convoy of 17 ambulances entered Arsal Thursday morning.

“We are preparing to evacuate 34 wounded people, the majority of them civilians,” LRC spokesman Ayad al-Monzer told The Daily Star.

The releases came after chief negotiators, Hossam Al-Ghali and Samih Ezzedine agreed to withdraw militants from the area and turn over prisoners as well as plan a ceasefire for 7:00 pm Thursday.

A total of 38 members of the security forces have been kidnapped by the militants in Arsal, including 20 policemen and 22 Lebanese soldiers, according to the Committee of Muslim Scholars.

Another 17 soldiers have been killed, and more than 80 wounded in the fighting, which is the worst violence in the area.

The tension has spread to the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where an explosive device detonated on Wednesday night, killing one person and wounding six, a security source said.

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