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100 Syrians detained in Lebanon after border bombings

Published 28/06/2016

Lebanese soldiers stand guard as investigators inspect the scene next to a damaged ambulance that was attacked by one of the suicide bombers in Qaa (AP)
Lebanese soldiers stand guard as investigators inspect the scene next to a damaged ambulance that was attacked by one of the suicide bombers in Qaa (AP)

Lebanese troops have detained 103 Syrians for illegal entry into the country in a security sweep a day after a series of deadly bombings struck a village near the border with Syria.

The unprecedented attacks - nine explosions in all, eight of them suicide bombings - triggered fear and panic among residents of Qaa village and a deepening sense of foreboding in Lebanon, which has grappled for more than five years with fallout from neighbouring Syria's civil war.

Tuesday was declared a national day of mourning and authorities postponed funerals for the five people killed in Monday's bombings, citing security reasons. A major religious event scheduled in the capital Beirut by the militant Hezbollah group was also postponed.

Also citing security concerns, the ministry of culture said it will postpone the opening of Bacchus Temple, part of the famed ruins of Baalbek.

The army said it carried out security raids in six areas in the Baalbek region, which has many informal settlements of Syrian refugees. It said nine motorcycles and two vehicles were confiscated and two Lebanese were arrested with illegal weapons.

Monday's explosions, four early in the morning and five at night, killed five people and wounded nearly 30 in the mainly Christian village of Qaa. Later in the day, two bombers blew themselves up outside the village church as people gathered for funerals of those killed in the earlier blasts.

Qaa and the nearby Ras Baalbek are the only two villages with a Christian majority in the predominantly Shiite Hermel region, where the Shiite Hezbollah group holds sway. The group has sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to bolster president Bashar Assad's forces against the predominantly Sunni rebels trying to topple him.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV blamed Monday's attack on the Islamic State group, which has claimed previous attacks in Lebanon. Al-Mustaqbal daily, which is owned by Hezbollah's rival group, suggested the army was the target of the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

AP

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