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Lebanese special forces arrest IS commander in dawn raid

The Lebanese army clashed with armed groups in Arsal in August [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 November, 2016

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Lebanese special forces captured a senior Islamic State (IS) commander and ten other combatants in a pre-dawn raid in the Beqaa region of Lebanon this morning.

Lebanese special forces captured a senior Islamic State (IS) commander and ten other combatants in a pre-dawn raid in the Beqaa region of Lebanon this morning.

The Lebanese Army reported the arrest of Ahmad Yousef Ammoun in the suburbs of the town of Arsal in Wadi al-Araneb, in an official statement.

"Special forces from National Intelligence launched an operation on an IS terrorist center at dawn today, with the support of Army units deployed in the Arsal area," the Lebanese Army said in a statement.

Ammoun, locally referred to as the "Sheikh", was critically injured during the arrest and transferred by helicopter to a local military hospital.

No military injuries were reported and the army reported seizing weapons, ammunition and explosive belts.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri tweeted that he had congratulated Jean Kahwaji, commander of the Lebanese army, for the arrest, by telephone.

Translation: "Informed of details of successful operation against terrorism in Wadi al-Araneb, Arsal by Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji over the telephone and I congratulated him on the success."

Lebanese Forces had previously attempted to arrest Ammoun on February 23 without success. Al-Manar news and Iran's Fars News Agency reported a successful capture at the time, quoting unnamed army sources.

A picture of Amoun lying in a hospital bed has been circulated on Twitter today.

It is believed that the militants at the Arsal camp were responsible for a string of eight terrorist attacks on June 27 in the Christian village, al-Qaa. Five people died and thirty people were injured in the attacks.

Al-Qaa is of strategic importance to IS as it is a gateway town on the Syria-Lebanon border.

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