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Islamic State flag burning ignites controversy in Lebanon

The burning of Islamic State (IS) flags in Lebanon has stirred controversy among the public and politicians, with some condemning the act, considering it an attack on religion, while others contend that IS has nothing to do with Islam.
Lebanese Sunni Islamist shouts slogans and wave flags as they march during a protest in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, August 4, 2014, condemning the Lebanese army for bombarding Arsal. The Lebanese army advanced on Monday into a border town attacked by Islamists at the weekend in the most serious spillover of the three-year-old Syrian civil war into Lebanon, and the Beirut government said the deadly assault would not go unpunished. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim  (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR417HT

TRIPOLI, Lebanon - After meteoric advances in Iraq in June, the Islamic State (IS) became the center of radio debates, TV talk shows and newspaper op-eds in Lebanon. Conversations among residents in coffee shops, taxis and diners quickly turned to the violent conflicts raging in the region. The violence has not spared Lebanon.

Deadly confrontations in early August erupted in Arsal, bordering Syria, with security forces battling fighters from IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate also operating in Syria. More than 100 extremists and 19 Lebanese army soldiers were killed. Forty-four security personnel were captured by the armed groups, and three of them have thus far been executed by IS.

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