Armed Islamic militants and Lebanese troops clashed Thursday in south Lebanon, forcing hundreds of residents to flee for safety, security officials said.
Officials said two soldiers were injured in the exchange that was triggered when gunmen belonging to the Jund al-Sham militant group opened fire on the soldiers for searching a van full of veiled schoolgirls. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The clashes also were sparked by the army's search of a wanted militant in the Taamir neighborhood of the southern city of Sidon, close to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, the officials said.
Several hundred residents fled the neighborhood, some taking refuge in nearby mosques.
The security officials said the schoolgirls' van had stopped at an army checkpoint, and the girls were asked to lift their face veils during a security search.