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11 militants killed in clashes with Lebanese army

Some 11 militants have been killed in fighting with the Lebanese army near the Syrian border on Saturday, a Lebanese security official said. The deaths came in a battle sparked by an attack on security forces in a town near the Syrian border.

The gunmen were killed during an advance by Lebanese soldiers in Wadi Hamid, near Arsal, where earlier two Lebanese soldiers were killed when the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's branch in Syria, attacked security forces in the town.

Extremist preacher Bakri 'will not be allowed in UK'

Radical Islamic cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed will not be allowed back into Britain, the Government has insisted after reports emerged he intends to claim asylum in the UK.

Omar Bakri Mohammed pictured in 2001 in London. Credit: Reuters

The extremist preacher faces the death sentence for running a terror cell in Lebanon and claims he has been tortured, according to reports. Family members have said they are launching an urgent appeal to allow him back into Britain under asylum laws.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Omar Bakri Muhammad was permanently excluded from the UK in 2005 on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good.

"As Omar Bakri Muhammad is excluded from the UK, he will be unable to make a claim for asylum."

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UN: One million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon

A "devastating milestone" has been reached with one million Syrian refugees now in Lebanon which has had a "staggering" impact on the country, the United Nations said.

Syrian refugees in the border town of Arsal, Lebanon. Credit: REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said: "The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering.

"The Lebanese people have shown striking generosity, but are struggling to cope.

"Lebanon hosts the highest concentration of refugees in recent history. We cannot let it shoulder this burden alone."

Refugees from Syria now equal one quarter of Lebanon's population, according to UN figures.

Casualties after suicide blast hits Lebanese checkpoint

A suicide car bomb has exploded at a Lebanese army checkpoint in the border town of Arsal, causing casualties, Lebanese security sources have said.

"There are dead and wounded among the soldiers," a security source said.

The town of Arsal is home to thousands of Syrian refugees and also Syrian rebels and their Lebanese allies who have fled an army advance on the Syrian side of the border.

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Syrian troops advance towards 'Lebanon rebel bastion'

Syrian soldiers entered eastern districts of the town of Yabroud and advanced towards the main street of the last major rebel bastion near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, Lebanese media reported.

According to Al Mayadeen television, capturing Yabroud would help President Bashar al-Assad secure the land route linking his Mediterranean coastal stronghold with the capital Damascus, and choke off a cross-border rebel supply line from Lebanon.

Mass street protests against Assad broke out three years ago and escalated into civil war after a violent security crackdown on demonstrators.

Israeli warplanes strike in eastern Lebanon

Israeli warplanes struck a target in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria on Monday, security sources told Reuters.

It was not immediately known what the target was or the exact location of the air strike, which occurred in a mountainous area near the border.

The Israeli army declined to comment but an Israeli security source confirmed that there has been "unusually intense air force activity in the north", referring to Lebanon.

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