BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army vowed Saturday to confront what it said was a systematic plan to target Lebanon and its military, saying it would prevent anyone from moving Syria's battle into the country.
"What happened today is the most dangerous incident Lebanon and the Lebanese have ever faced because it's made clear that there is someone planning and preparing to attack Lebanon as well as planning to sabotage the Lebanese Army and the residents of Arsal," the army said in a statement.
"Armed groups carried out a concentrated attack on the homes of Arsal residents who the army protected ... and kidnapped a number of Army soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces. They took them hostage and snatched them from their homes where they were celebrating the holiday and asked in return for the release of the most dangerous suspect."
The military said the militants were of different nationalities and commended residents of Arsal for assisting the Army in the clashes.
"The Army will not allow anyone to move the battle in Syria into Lebanon," it said
"Everyone should be aware of the danger facing the Lebanon, the Lebanese and its Army because today's events demonstrated that there is a systematic plan to target the country and the incident was not a matter of coincidence.
"The Army will confront such an attack and will not allow Lebanon to turn into an arena of kidnapping, murder and terrorism."
Saturday afternoon, militants demanding the release of a suspected Nusra Front commander arrested earlier in the day by the Army attacked government checkpoints and police stations in and around Arsal. Two soldiers were killed in Wadi Hmayyed, and at least one was wounded in Arsal, a security source told The Daily Star.
The source said that two Lebanese soldiers had been kidnapped before being freed later in the afternoon by the Army.