Lebanon to hold state funeral for soldiers killed by IS

Li Jiayao

BEIRUT, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- A state funeral will be held Friday for the Lebanese soldiers kidnapped and killed by Islamic State (IS) militants, according to a statement issued by the presidential media office on Tuesday.

The presidential palace has issued orders for a state funeral to be held at the headquarters of the Defense Ministry in Yarze on Sept. 8, the statement said.

The funeral was initially scheduled for Thursday, but delayed due to the visit of the president of the Central African Republic to Beirut on the same day.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri are expected to attend the funeral, in addition to a number of high-ranking officials, the National News Agency reported.

More than 30 servicemen were held captive when IS and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August 2014.

Several of the servicemen were killed in captivity but many others were released according to a deal reached in December 2015.

The bodies of some of the captives were recovered on the outskirts of Arsal following a successful offensive the Lebanese army launched against the al-Nusra Front in August.

It was confirmed that nine servicemen were killed during their captivity.

The location of their burial site was disclosed by IS militants as part of a cease-fire deal that allowed the extremist fighters to leave Lebanon for eastern Syria.

Earlier in the day, Justice Minister Salim Jreissati said the results of DNA testing on the remains of kidnapped soldiers will be released on Wednesday.


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