Beirut - Lebanon declared victory over the Islamic State in north-eastern towns, less than two weeks after the army launched an offensive to drive the jihadists out of the area bordering Syria.
The commander of the army, General Joseph Aoun, on Wednesday declared "the end of the battle of Dawn of the Outsksirts, which achieved its goals by the expulsion of Daesh and knowing the fate of the abducted soldiers."
Aoun used the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
On August 19 the Lebanese army announced the start of an offensive against Islamic State militants holed up in areas at the outskirts of the eastern towns of Ras Baalbeck and al-Qaa, close the Syrian border.
After a meeting with President Michel Aoun, the army commander congratulated the military on "its victory against terrorism" and offered his condolences to the families of fallen soldiers.
The president said: "Lebanon has triumphed over terrorism and its victory has been huge and honourable. The army has proved that it is the only army that has managed to fight Daesh," according to Naharnet news website.
During the battle, the army recovered eight bodies believed to be soldiers who were taken hostages by the Islamic State. The government is carrying out DNA tests to confirm their identities.
Nine Lebanese soldiers were taken as captives following battles in 2014 in north-east Lebanon.