- POSTED: 17 Jan 2014 20:02
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Shells fired from Syria kill seven people, including five children, when they rained down on the Lebanese border town of Arsal.
BAALBEK, Lebanon: Shells fired from war-torn Syria killed seven people, including five children, when they rained down on the Lebanese border town of Arsal on Friday, Lebanese officials said.
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.
"Seven people were killed and 20 others injured when shells launched from across the border hit Arsal," said a security source.
An official in Arsal said that five of the dead were children, three of them from one family.
"Three of five children killed were from one Lebanese family. Then there was another boy, also Lebanese. We have not been able to identify the fifth victim, who was a little girl," said Ahmad al-Hojairi, from the town's municipality.
The Lebanese army said: "Between 10:45 am (0845 GMT) and noon (1000 GMT), the areas of Ras Baalbek, Al-Kawakh, Al-Buweida, Masharia al-Qaa, Arsal and Hermel were hit by 20 rockets and shells launched from Syria."
The town of Hermel is a stronghold of the Shiite Hezbollah movement in the Bekaa that was hit Thursday by a car bomb attack that killed three people.
The attack was claimed by the jihadist Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon as a suicide operation.
Arsal is a Sunni area in the Bekaa that hosts thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the violence in their country.
It has been bombed several times by Syria's air force, most recently in December in a raid that prompted the Lebanese army to hit back with anti-aircraft fire.
Arsal's population sympathises strongly with the revolt in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.
Hojairi said: "People in Arsal are in a state of panic. They are enraged. We are being made to pay for the crisis in Syria. What happened today is terrifying."
"Six or seven rockets launched from Syria" had hit a residential area, he said, adding that two of them hit houses.