World Bulletin/News Desk
Lebanon's army said on Friday it was stepping up security at religious sites and other public places over the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday after a spate of kidnappings in Beirut and protests which blocked the airport road.
"Army units started taking exceptional security measures in the vicinity of religious places, main roads, shopping areas and tourist attractions," the army said in a statement.
A Lebanese Shi'ite clan kidnapped 20 Syrians and a Turkish businessman this week, saying it was holding them to secure the release of a relative captured by Syrian rebels in Damascus.
Sectarian tensions are already running high in Lebanon over the uprising in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Eleven Shi'ite Lebanese men have been held in northern Syria by Syrian rebels for more than three months. Families of the captives burned tyres and blocked the Beirut airport road on Wednesday night after reports that some of their relatives had been wounded in a government air strike.
Earlier this month, Saudi security forces shot and killed two suspected miltants including an explosive belt maker during a police operation in the north of Riyadh.
An explosion hit on Saturday the Rakban refugee camp in southern Syria near the border with Jordan, according to media reports.
Denmark has so far provided the coalition with 400 military personnel, including 60 special forces troops, as well as seven F-16 warplanes -- four of them operational at any one time -- and a C-130J transport plane.
The Roman amphitheatre dates to the 1st Century AD and was used by ISIL for public executions during its occupation of the city between May 2015 and March last year.
Turkish military hits 21 ISIL targets as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, General Staff says
The rebels say they will focus solely on reinforcing a frail nationwide truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara last month.
Astana peace talks set to begin next week to reinforce a ceasefire that went into effect in last December
Syrian leader says upcoming talks in Kazakh capital will allow warring parties ‘to discuss everything’
"What is happening (in Palmyra) is a real tragedy from the point of view of cultural and historical heritage," he told journalists. "Barbaric actions of the extremists are continuing."
The Turkish military destroys 224 ISIL targets and neutralizes 23 ISIL extremists as part of the ongoing Euphrates Shield Operation
Incoming administration to decide whether to attend, State Dept. says
Assad regime and its allies have violated three-week-old truce from the outset, critics say
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A garrison loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has held out in the city largely surrounded by the Huthi rebels and their allies who control the capital Sanaa and much of the north.
The building, dating from the early 1960s and including a shopping centre and clothing workshops, had been evacuated, but firefighters were battling the blaze inside and it was not immediately clear if there were casualties.
Turkish army hits 182 ISIL targets in northern Syria, says General Staff