Lebanon News

Syrian helicopters fire rockets into Lebanon

File - Lebanese army soldiers search civilians at a checkpoint at the entrance of Arsal. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

ARSAL, Lebanon: Syrian helicopters fired six rockets overnight Saturday into the Bekaa, northeast Lebanon, security sources told The Daily Star.

The rockets were fired at the Wadi Hmeid area, near the border town of Arsal, an area that recently was the scene of an attack against an Army checkpoint, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another source from Bekaa said that the Syrian helicopters attacked the border area near Arsal two times early in the morning.

“The first helicopter fired four rockets that hit near Arsal from along the border of the Syrian city of Qara at around midnight,” said the source.

“Shortly after, a second helicopter fired two rockets that hit near the northern entrance to Arsal in Wadi Hmeid,” the source added.

Three Army soldiers were killed in an assault on a checkpoint in Wadi Hmeid that was launched from Syria in May.

The Syrian-helicopter rocket attacks were the second against Sunni-majority border areas in less than a week and the latest in a series of incidents related to the escalating war in Syria.

Lebanon towns have repeatedly been struck by gunfire and rockets as Syria's war spills across the northern border areas.

Rebels have claimed responsibility for some rocket attacks, while the Syrian Army has launched attacks into the country as well.

A recent spike in rocket attacks is linked to the growing military role of Hezbollah in Syria, as the party joined forces with the Syrian Army to take back the town of Qusair from rebels.

On Wednesday, a Syrian helicopter also conducted similar raids against Arsal, hours after Hezbollah and the regime regained control over Qusair which was held by rebels for almost a year.

Around a dozen of rockets were launched in and around the city of Baalbek, in what appeared to be an response to the seizure of the town.

 

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