Middle East

Lebanon army gets body of soldier 'beheaded by IS'

The wife of Lebanese soldier Sgt Ali Sayyed mourns after being told that he has been beheaded by Islamic State militants (29 August 2014) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The family of Ali Sayyed have been asked to provide DNA samples to help confirm the identity of the body

The Lebanese army has received the remains of a missing solider believed to have been beheaded by militants from Islamic State (IS).

Officials said the body of Sgt Ali Sayyed was handed over to the Lebanese Red Cross outside Arsal, a north-eastern town near the Syrian border.

A video purportedly showing Sgt Sayyed being decapitated emerged last week.

He went missing in August, when Syria-based militants attacked Arsal, killing and capturing many soldiers and police.

Some are still being held by Islamic State, while others are with another jihadist group, the al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The militants have reportedly sought to exchange the hostages for Islamists held in Lebanese prisons.

The families of the hostages have blocked roads to put pressure on the Lebanese authorities to secure their release.

Lebanese security officials said DNA tests would be carried out on the body received on Monday afternoon to confirm it was Sgt Sayyed, a Sunni Muslim from northern Lebanon.

The army has yet to confirm the authenticity of the video published online that appears to show the soldier's death.

In the video, a man in civilian clothes is seen sitting blindfolded on the ground with his hands tied behind his back.

He writhes and kicks the ground when an armed, masked militant announces he will be killed. Another militant then beheads him.

The fighting in Arsal - which left 16 civilians, 20 soldiers, and dozens of militants dead - was the most serious incident along the border with Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.

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