Middle East

Lebanon: Christian village hit by multiple suicide attacks

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Red Cross officials at Qaa, Lebanon (27/06/16) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The bombers attacked in the early hours of the morning

At least five people have been killed and 15 others wounded in a multiple suicide bomb attack in north-eastern Lebanon, officials and medics say.

Four bombers blew themselves up outside a house in the mostly Christian village of Qaa, near the border with Syria.

Security sources later reported at least three new suicide attacks. No group has claimed responsibility.

But Al-Manar TV - owned by the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah - blamed the Sunni Muslim group Islamic State.

IS carried out previous suicide bombings that killed scores of people in Lebanon but has not yet said whether it was behind Monday's blasts.

'Gateway to Lebanon'

The first suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the house at 04:20 (01:20 GMT), Lebanon's official National News Agency reports.

The three other attackers followed, detonating their suicide vests one after the other as people gathered in the road nearby, it added.

Four soldiers who went to investigate the first explosion were among the wounded.

"Qaa is the gateway to the rest of Lebanon, and here we stopped a plan for a much bigger explosion," mayor Bashir Matar told AFP news agency.

"We chased the fourth attacker and shot at him, and he blew himself up," he said, adding that five villagers had been killed in the attack.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Four soldiers were among those wounded by the explosions

The NNA reported that the army had cordoned off the area and were searching for possible accomplices.

The explosions reportedly occurred about 150m (490ft) from a Lebanese customs border point, on the road linking the Bekaa valley to the Syrian town of Qusair.

Most of Qaa's residents are Christians but one area called Masharia Qaa is predominantly Sunni.

A large number of Syrian refugees have also set up an informal camp adjacent to the village, according to AFP.

Lebanon has seen repeated attacks linked to the five-year conflict in Syria, where Hezbollah is fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

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