Jihadists Agree to Quit Lebanon's Arsal, Free Hostages: Mediator
Jihadists who occupied eastern Lebanon's Arsal near the Syrian border have agreed to leave in 24 hours and to release military and police hostages, Sunni clerics who mediated said today.
A ceasefire has been "extended to 7 pm tomorrow (1600 GMT) following an agreement between Lebanon's prime minister, the army command and the other concerned parties," chief negotiator Sheikh Hossam al-Ghali said.
"Fighters in Arsal have started to head across the Lebanese border" into Syria, Ghali said.
But the fate of the deal was unclear as security sources reported intermittent clashes and army shelling just hours after it was announced.
The clerics went to Arsal to negotiate an end to clashes between the army and jihadists that began in the area on Saturday, killing at least 17 soldiers.
An initial truce was expected to run until today evening, allowing talks to continue and the evacuation of the wounded and trapped civilians.
Lebanon's army says at least 22 of its soldiers have gone missing in the fighting, and are assumed to be held hostage by the militants, along with an estimated 20 policemen.
Another negotiator and fellow cleric, Samih Ezzedine, said: "The remaining armed men have undertaken to leave Arsal completely within 24 hours.
"They asked not to be shot at as they withdraw, and if that happens the whole agreement will be in jeopardy," he said.
"All the prisoners are alive and despite difficult negotiations we have clear and positive promises they will be released. I hope that will happen on Thursday," Ezzedine said.
However, the blocking of an aid convoy for Arsal by residents of the neighbouring Shiite village of Labweh set off sectarian tensions.
In the northern city of Tripoli, a homemade device exploded, wounding an unspecified number of people, a local security source said.
Protesters, meanwhile, set ablaze tyres on roads in Sunni districts of the city and on a road in the eastern Bekaa, AFP correspondents said.
- DMK Objects to Jayalalithaa's Portraits
- 'I Am Not Scared Of ABVP', DU Student And Kargil Martyr's Daughter's Facebook Post Goes Viral Sends Strong Message To ABVP
- 'Delhi Police Has Become Agent of BJP'
- Modi To Face Love Challenge In 2019
- Wonderful, Precise And Very Cool: How Do Our Money Up-Chucking Machines Work?
- "I'm Only Passing Through" 10 Leonard Cohen Songs That You Must Listen To
- Blackout For NDTV Stirs The Media
- Daily Curator: The Dominion Of Misunderstood Men Over Headlines
- Daily Curator: Of Holes Being Poked Into The Bhopal Encounter And The Origins Of Chyawanprash
- Watch: Viral Video Has Man Lighting Up A Line Of Crackers Attached To His Mouth
- Ramjas Violence: College Forms Panel to Probe Students' Role
- 'Rs 10 Lakh Each Paid To 141 Families Of Manual Scavengers': TN Govt Tells Madras HC
- China's Bad Loans In 2016 Came Up To A Whopping USD 220 Billion
- Donkeys, Pigeons And Even Kasab: Morsels Of Madness From Uttar Pradesh
- DCW Orders Probe into Alleged Attacks on Women by Cops at DU
- BMC: Congress’s Gurudas Kamat Opposes Tie Up With Shiv Sena
- MOST VIEWED
- MOST COMMENTED
- Boys In MP Forced To Dip Hands In Boiling Oil As 'Innocence Test', To Prove They Hadn't Stolen Mobile
- Hafiz Saeed Can Pose A Serious Threat To Nation, Says Pakistan's Defence Minister
- 5 Killed As Aircraft Smashes Into Melbourne Shopping Complex
- Nestle Sales Was Hit By Rs 100 Crore Post Demonetisation, Says Company Chairman