BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Lebanon's army received $1 billion in aid from Saudi Arabia Wednesday to help in its fight against insurgents who overtook the town of Arsal, 77 miles northeast of the capital of Beirut.
Although overshadowed by conflicts in Gaza and Iraq, Lebanon is fighting the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate, on its Syrian border. A cease-fire, begun Tuesday, has proven largely ineffective. Combat continued, although unofficial reports suggest the army has begun forcing the insurgents from the city. The Saudi funding will purchase French-made weapons, and army chief Gen. Jean Kahwaji requested Tuesday that France expedite the sale.
The most recent round of clashes began Saturday, with 17 Lebanese soldiers killed and 22 missing. There was no information on casualties from the insurgents. Arsal Mayor Ali Hujeiri noted the case-fire was not being employed.