A group of fighters have killed six Lebanese soldiers and wounded one after an ambush on a Lebanese army patrol near the border with Syria, a Lebanese security official said.

The attack occurred on Tuesday in a remote region of Ras Baalbek in eastern Lebanon and was followed by fierce clashes between the two sides, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to media.

The state-run National News Agency also reported the ambush, saying several soldiers were killed and wounded. It said the Lebanese military called in air support to the area.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted the soldiers as they were moving from one post to another in the Tal Hamra area.

Lebanese soldiers have been battling Syria-based fighters, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Nusra Front, in areas near the border with Syria.

Local media said dozens of fighters took part in the attack.

In August, the armed groups seized some 20 Lebanese soldiers and police officers during a brief cross-border raid on the Lebanese border town of Arsal. The fighters have already killed three of the captives, beheading two of them.

The plight of the remaining captive soldiers and policemen and their families has gripped Lebanon in the past weeks. Relatives of the hostages are staging an ongoing sit-in and blocking roads in Beirut to pressure the government to negotiate with the fighters.

Source: AP