BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Lebanon and Syria (all times local):
A senior Lebanese official says bodies believed to be of soldiers kidnapped by Islamic State militants three years ago have been found buried near the border with Syria.
Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, says locating the bodies was part of a deal reached with the Islamic State group during a military offensive in the area that began last week. In exchange for locating the bodies of the soldiers kidnapped in 2014, the militants will be evacuated to eastern Syria.
Ibrahim said the operation Sunday to dig out the bodies of six soldiers is underway, and two more bodies are believed buried there. Ibrahim said the search for a ninth soldier continues. He said DNA tests will be carried out to determine the identity of the soldiers.
Cease-fires were announced earlier Sunday to allow for the negotiations to continue.
Lebanon’s military has announced a cease-fire in its week-old battle against the Islamic State group along the Syrian border, saying it will allow for negotiations with the militants over the fate of several Lebanese soldiers captured three years ago.
The Syrian army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which are waging a separate campaign on the other side of the border, also announced a cease-fire.
The Central Military Media, an outlet run jointly by Hezbollah and the Syrian army, said the Sunday cease-fire will pave the way for a comprehensive agreement to end the fight against IS in the area.
The U.S-backed Lebanese military denies it is coordinating with the Syrian army. Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the Syrian forces since 2013.