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Deadly attacks target army in Sidon

One Lebanese army soldier was killed while three others were wounded in the Sunday attacks.

Lebanese army troops in Sidon. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

BEIRUT - Armed men and a suicide bomber attacked two Lebanese army checkpoints in Sidon on Sunday night, killing one soldier and injuring three others.

 

The first attack came at 9:00 pm when an armed man lobbed a grenade a Lebanese army checkpoint at the Al-Awali Bridge north of the city, injuring two soldiers, the Lebanese army said in a statement.

 

“Three men walked past the Al-Awali checkpoint and when asked to provide their ID, one of them ran towards a soldier brandishing a hand grenade.”

 

“The soldier responded by opening fire on [the assailant] and killing him. The grenade subsequently exploded, injuring two soldiers,” it added.

 

The statement also said that the gunman was also carrying a bomb, which was dismantled by LAF explosives experts.

 

Less than an hour later, a man carrying a hand grenade stepped out of a GMC Envoy SUV, which was being checked by the LAF at the army’s checkpoint in Majdalyoun in eastern Sidon, and blew himself up.

 

The suicide bomber killed one Lebanese army soldier – identified as Sergeant Samer Rizk - and injured another, the army said in its statement.

 

Troops at the checkpoint then opened fire on the two other gunmen inside the GMC Envoy, killing both of them.

 

The LAF added that a subsequent search of the assailants' SUV uncovered an explosive belt as well as a hand grenade.

 

A security source in Sidon told AFP that "the attacks were likely coordinated."

 

AFP's correspondent in Sidon said the army has deployed vehicles along the city's main roads as it steps up security following the attacks.

 

The Majdalyoun of the attackers were later identified as Lebanese nationals Mohammad al-Zafir and Ibarhim al-Mir, and Palestinian national Bahaa al-Sayyed, a resident of Sidon.

 

Sidon was the scene of deadly clashes in June when supporters of radical cleric Ahmad al-Assir attacked the Lebanese army near the sheikh's mosque in the city's Abra area.

 

The LAF seized control of Assir’s headquarters after his supporters battled the army for two days, resulting in the death of 18 soldiers.

 

After the end of the battle, several Sunni religious and political leaders have claimed that Hezbollah members were fighting alongside the army against Assir.

Lebanese army troops in Sidon. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

The first attack came when at an army checkpoint on Al-Awali Bridge north of the city, lightly injuring one soldier.