BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Lebanese army announced Saturday the start of an offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group close to the Syrian border in the east of the country, where jihadists have been operating for several years. “In the name of Lebanon, in the name of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, in the name of martyrs of the army, I announce that operation ‘Dawn of Jurud’ has started,” army chief General Joseph Aoun said, referring to the mountainous Jurud Arsal border region. Hezbollah, which provides military support to Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, launched last month an offensive to eliminate Syrian rebels as well as all jihadists formerly linked to al-Qaeda from the region.

A Christian street preacher who was arrested and held for 13 hours in a police cell, after displaying placards depicting love for Muslims and criticising the ideology of Islam, has this week been informed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that no charges will be brought against him. Ian Sleeper was arrested outside Southwark Cathedral in June this year, under Section 5 Public Order Act 1986, religiously aggravated by section 31 Crime and Disorder Act 1998. He was released on bail after the CPS could not decide whether to charge him. Strict conditions were imposed preventing him from going into the Southwark Borough. Having been on bail for 6 weeks, the police have now decided to take no further action against him. Ian has been supported by the Christian Legal Centre throughout. Commenting on the result, he says: "It is reassuring to hear that I have not been charged for seeking to expose the truth about Islam. "Truth cannot be taken for granted in our modern world, and so I will be back out on the street soon."