Moqbel and Kahwagi arrive in Ras Baalbek on a morale-boosting visit. (The Daily Star/Nidal al-Solh)
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The Army chief vowed Friday to crush Syria-based jihadis threatening to destabilize Lebanon, as troops geared up for possible retaliatory attacks by militants in response to their expulsion from two key positions on the northeastern border with Syria, a senior military official said.The remarks by Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi came a day after Lebanese troops drove Islamist militants out of two strategic hilltop outposts on the outskirts of the northeastern Bekaa town of Ras Baalbek in a pre-emptive strike aimed at fending off jihadis holed up in the rugged border area with Syria. According to the official, the Army Friday morning sporadically pounded militants' hideouts on the northeastern border with Syria with rockets and artillery fire, a day after troops killed at least three Islamists in the pre-emptive operation on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek. The Army said three soldiers were lightly wounded during Thursday's clashes with the militants believed to be affiliated with ISIS. "The money has been transferred and the Army Command is waiting for the arrival of a French delegation [in Beirut] to put the final touches to the deal," he said. He added that the Army's pre-emptive attack on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek was 100 percent successful.
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