Lebanon's official news agency says gunmen have fired on a government checkpoint near the Syrian border, killing three Lebanese soldiers.

The state-run National News Agency says gunmen attacked the roadblock near the town of Arsal on Tuesday morning.

The shooting appears linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria, where predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels are fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime, dominated by Alawites, an offshoot Shiite sect.

Lebanese are divided over Syria's civil war, with Shiite militant group Hezbollah fighting alongside Assad's troops while large numbers of Sunnis back the opposition.

Clashes between factions backing the opposing sides in the Syrian conflict have been raging in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli for days.