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Mine kills 3 Lebanese soldiers near Syria border: army

Lebanese army soldiers on their armored vehicle patrol the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley, on March 20, 2014. (File Photo by Reuters)
BEIRUT: A roadside bomb killed three Lebanese soldiers and critically injured a fourth on Sunday as the army continued its offensive against Daesh militants near Ras Baalbek on the Syrian border.
The bomb struck an advancing armored vehicle and caused Lebanon’s first casualties since the battle began at dawn on Saturday.
Lebanese military spokesman Col. Fadi Boueid said troops destroyed a vehicle and a motorcycle driven by Daesh suicide attackers before they could hit their targets, and 15 militants were killed as a result of fighting and bombardment.
Boueid said the army had retaken two-thirds of the Lebanese land that was held by the extremists, including 30 sq. km on Sunday alone.
Lebanese Army Command said tunnels and caves occupied by Daesh had been destroyed, and weapons and ammunition seized. It added: “Army units continue their advance under air and artillery cover, while special units clear the area from mines.”
Reinforcements were being considered to end the battle as quickly as possible, and some Daesh fighters had deserted, the military said.
President Michel Aoun visited soldiers wounded in the operation, wished them a speedy recovery, and saluted their sacrifices.
Gen. Joseph Aoun, Lebanese Army commander, moved to the military operations room in Ras Baalbek to follow progress and to be briefed by commanders.
He later visited the liberated areas and met soldiers and officers from the battlefield.

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