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arsal lebanon mapAn ambush Sunday by gunmen in the town of Labwe in east Lebanon led to the killing of two people and the wounding of two others including the mayor of the border town of Arsal, according to security sources.

The unidentified gunmen shot at the convoy of Mayor Ali Hujeiri in Labwe as it was returning from Ras Baalbek, where earlier he had overseen an exchange of hostages.

Ahmad Khaled al-Hujeiri who was identified as one of the people killed in the Labwe ambush , is also known as Abu Khaled al-Tabsh. The other victim was identified as Shehayeb al-Ahmad. Both are from the Mayor’s convoy.

Over a dozen hostages hailing from the northeastern town of Arsal were released Sunday in exchange for a member of the Moqdad clan, according to the reports.

 

Here are some updates on the ambush

– A previously unknown group that identified itself as the group of 4 martyrs claimed responsibility for the ambush..

– LBC quoted a security source as saying the group behind the ambush is the one that kidnapped Syrian citizen Mohammad Abbas that was behind the kidnapping of Youssef al Moqdad.

It appears that the exchange of hostages was related to Youssef al Moqdad’s kidnapping.

The Moqdad clan , which has a military wing kidnapped over 20 members of the Free Syrian Army about this time last year strongly supports the Syrian regime

On the other hand residents of Arsal, which borders Syria, strongly support rebels fighting the syrian regime and the town has become a haven for Syrian fighters crisscrossing between the two countries via the porous border.

-According to LBC sources Shehayeb al-Ahmad , one of the people killed in the ambush is not has no nothing to do with Jabhat al Nusra. Earlier reports claimed he is a member of the Islamist group that is fighting the Syrian regime.
The sources also told LBC that the mayor was very slightly wounded and is back in Arsal.

-The situation is very tense between Al-Labwe and Arsal residents, An Nahar reported and pointed out that armed men were seen in both towns.

background

The Bekaa Valley region, where the attack happened, is religiously mixed. Some areas are controlled by the Shi’ite militant Hezbollah group which is helping President Bashar al-Assad crush the revolt. Other parts, like Arsal, are Sunni, and residents provide a safe haven for majority-Sunni Syrian rebels.

The name of the previously unknown  gang ” 4 martyrs ”  that claimed responsibility for  the ambush is  reportedly related to an incident in June in which four of Labwe’s residents were killed by Syrian rebel fighters.

The recapture of the Syrian border town of Qusair last  June by Assad’s forces, spearheaded by Hezbollah guerrillas, reportedly led to an influx of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians into Lebanon and more violence spilling over into the Bekaa region.

 

 

 

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