A string of suicide bombings early Monday killed at least five people in a Lebanese village near the volatile border with war-ravaged Syria.
The attack came just hours after the Islamic State group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed seven soldiers on Jordan’s border with Syria.
Monday’s deadly attack struck Al-Qaa, a predominantly Christian village nestled in a hilly border area shaken by violence since Syria’s conflict erupted in 2011.
At least four suicide blasts hit the village before dawn, a military source told AFP.
“The first attacker knocked on one of the homes in the village, but after the resident became suspicious, he blew himself up,” the source said.
He said three other suicide attackers detonated their own explosives as people began gathering to treat the wounded.
An AFP correspondent in the village said security forces had cordoned off the site of the blasts, which lies on a main road linking the Syrian town of Al-Qusayr across the border to Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa valley.
The road cuts through a residential area in the centre of Al-Qaa, and the explosions took place less than 100 meters (yards) from the village church.
“Al-Qaa is the gateway to the rest of Lebanon, and here we stopped a plan for a much bigger explosion,” said Al-Qaa mayor Bashir Matar.
He confirmed that the second and third suicide attackers detonated their explosives “as people gathered to treat the wounded.”
“We chased the fourth attacker and shot at him, and he blew himself up,” Matar said, adding that five villagers had been killed in the attack.