3 suspected Daesh militants killed, 3 wounded in Arsal bombing

Lebanon: Three suspected Daesh (ISIS) militants were killed and three others wounded in a bombing when a pickup truck they were in exploded in a northeast Lebanon border town on Thursday, a security source told The Daily Star.

The incident took place in Arsal’s Jameh Kabeer neighborhood near an old police station.

Masked gunmen have put up a 200-meter radius cordon, preventing security sources from approaching the scene.

The wounded were admitted to Al-Rahme hospital for treatment.

A source told The Daily Star that two of the wounded were treated for minor injuries before leaving the hospital, while one remains in critical condition.

Arsal Mayor Bassel Hujeiri told The Daily Star that “it’s not clear if the pickup was transferring the bomb, if it was targeted with a bombing or if it was a gas canister that exploded.”

The nature of the bomb and its weight remain unclear, he added.

“We are waiting for [security forces] to look into the matter.”

However, a security source told The Daily Star that the bomb was placed under the driver’s seat.

The pickup is carrying a Syrian plate number from Homs.

The outskirts of Arsal see frequent fighting between radical Islamist groups Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – formerly the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front – and Daesh.

Extremists have intermittently engaged in clashes on the town’s outskirts since January last year over territorial disputes.

The two extremist groups have been entrenched on the outskirts of Arsal since they overran the town in August 2014.

More than 30 soldiers and policemen were initially captured but most were released. Some were killed in captivity, however, and nine army personnel are still being held by Daesh