Smoke billows from Arsal, a Sunni Muslim town near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon, Saturday, Aug 2. Rebels fighting in Syria’s civil war crossed into Lebanon and raided a border town Saturday, killing and capturing security force members in the most serious incursion into the tiny country during its neighbor’s 3-year-old conflict.Uncredited / AP
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Rebels fighting in Syria's civil war crossed into Lebanon and raided a border town Saturday, killing and capturing security force members in the most serious incursion into the tiny country during its neighbor's 3-year-old conflict. The rebels, who included foreign fighters, demanded to trade soldiers and police officers it captured in Arsal for some of the "most dangerous detainees," the Lebanese army said in a statement.
A Lebanese army general told The Associated Press that the gunmen attacked army positions near Arsal and troops returned fire. Another official said the gunmen also took control of the main police station in the town. Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that Arsal residents later freed police officers at the station, though rebels captured some weapons and released several detainees. It said gunmen killed two residents, two soldiers and wounded several others.
Syria's civil war has spilled over into Lebanon on multiple occasions and inflamed sectarian tensions leaving scores dead. The Syrian uprising began in the form of peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, but escalated into an insurgency when government forces violently cracked down on dissent.