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Middle East

Several die in rocket strike on Lebanon town

At least seven killed and 15 wounded in attack on centre of border town, home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Last updated: 17 Jan 2014 16:37
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Arsal is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees [Reuters]

Rocket fire on the Lebanese border town of Arsal killed at least seven people and wounded 15 others, Lebanon's state news agency said.

The agency said on Friday one rocket hit Arsal, but local security sources said at least seven rockets hit the area.

The deaths came as at least 20 rockets and shells, launched from Syria, hit border areas in the eastern Lebanon Bekaa Valley, which has seen frequent violence related to the Syrian conflict.

Arsal sits on the frontier with neighbouring Syria, which is mired in a nearly three-year civil war.

This is the first time rockets landed inside the town centre. Rockets have been landing on the outskirts of the town in recent months.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said it was unclear if the town was specifically targeted or whether the rocket was a stray. There were several battles raging between Syrian rebels and the Syrian regime along the border area, she added.

Arsal is a Sunni area in the Bekaa region that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the violence in their country.

Its population sympathises strongly with the revolt in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.

Ahmad al-Hojairi, an official in Arsal, said it was unclear if Friday's casualties were Lebanese or Syrian.

"What we can confirm is that six or seven rockets launched from Syria hit a residential area. Two of the rockets hit houses."

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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