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BEIRUT, August 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Members of the Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra are attacking Lebanese army roadblocks on the border with Syria, exchanging fire with the government troops, the LBC television company reported on Saturday.
It said the retracting militants had broken into the town of Ersal, 12 km from the border with Syria, riding in motorcycles and jeeps with machineguns. They surrounded the local police station and demanded release of the Jabhat al-Nusra field commander detained by border guards.
Their leader had been captured along with a group of wounded militants as they were heading to a field hospital in Lebanon.
With shooting continuing in Ersal, the army command is redeploying more troops to the area and Lebanese Air Force planes flying over the town.
LBC said militants had captured two army soldiers and threatened to seize hundreds of others if the detained field commander was not released.
Earlier reports said that the Syrian army and Hezbollah had carried out an operation to destroy a large group of militants who were trying to fight their way from Ersal to Qalamun, a mountainous area 60 km north of Damascus.
A Syrian military source said that at least 50 militants from Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State and other opposition groups had been killed and more than 200 wounded.