BEIRUT (Worthy News)– The Islamic State (IS) captured its first Lebanese city, Arsal, on Monday. Fighting began Friday evening in Arsal after Abu Ahmad al-Jumaa, a former commander in the Free Syrian Army who declared his allegiance to IS, was arrested by the Lebanese Army.
A Syrian rebel group which has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State's leader has set up check-points in the Lebanese town of Arsal on the two countries' border, though it has stopped short of declaring it part of the IS's "Caliphate".
Lebanese army troops have moved up to attack the town, pouring in shells and putting at risk not only the 40,000 local inhabitants but the estimated 120,000 Syrian refugees who have taken shelter there.
The crisis brought a rare show of unity from Syria's competing political factions, with the Sunni prime minister Tammam Salam standing alongside the rest of the cabinet to give a statement. "The attack on Lebanese national dignity will not go unpunished," he said, calling Islamic State's behaviour "sick".
However, the broader jihadist movement in Syria has won support from Sunni clerics inside Lebanon, which also has its own branch of the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. Jabhat al-Nusra is also said to have participated in the seizure of Arsal, though a statement it issued was ambiguous. — Source
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