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The New Arab

Lebanon holds state funeral for soldiers killed by IS

The soldiers were awarded Lebanon’s highest posthumous medals [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 8 September, 2017

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President Michel Aoun presided over the ceremony held at the Defence Ministry near Beirut, during which the soldiers were awarded Lebanon’s highest posthumous medals.
Lebanon on Friday bid farewell in a state funeral to ten of its soldiers who were captured and killed by the Islamic State [IS] group, amid a national day of mourning in honour of the servicemen.

President Michel Aoun presided over the ceremony held at the Defence Ministry near Beirut, during which the soldiers were awarded Lebanon's highest posthumous medals.

Mourners threw rice and flowers at the procession as it passed later in downtown Beirut, where relatives of the soldiers had staged a sit-in in a tent for the past three years, demanding to know the fate of their loved ones.

The bodies of the soldiers were recovered late last month following an army offensive to wipe out hundreds of IS militants who were occupying parts of the Lebanese-Syria border region.

The soldiers were among 30 others kidnapped by IS and al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate when they overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal in August 2014.

Four were killed by their captors and a fifth died of his wounds while 16 were released in a prisoner swap in December 2015. The fate of the remaining soldiers remained unknown.

Their families pitched tents three years ago in downtown Beirut to pressure the government to find the troops.

Late last month, authorities in Lebanon said they located the remains along the restive eastern border with Syria.

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