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Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 11:16 UK

Four soldiers killed in Lebanon

A Lebanese soldier stands near a vehicle ambushed in the Bekaa Valley
The soldiers were ambushed in the Bekaa Valley

Four Lebanese soldiers have been killed in an attack on an army patrol, according to media reports.

The attack was near Zahle, in the Bekaa Valley, eastern Lebanon. Reports said between one and 13 people were injured.

The motive was unclear, but could be linked to tribal tension about the army's recent efforts to crack down on drug smuggling in the area.

Bekaa Valley is a stronghold of the Shia Islamist movement, Hezbollah. The army has not commented on the attack.

Gunmen reportedly attacked the army patrol with rocket-propelled grenades on a major road.

The area has seen sectarian violence in recent years, and has a history of drug production.

The Bekaa Valley became notorious for the production of hashish and opium during the 1975-90 civil war, but cultivation was largely eradicated by the government in the early 1990s.

However, the failure of alternative crops to generate income for farmers has led some to resort to illegal harvests again.



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