Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia chief said his fighters’ intervention in Syria had kept an al Qaeda splinter group that has seized territory in Iraq from spreading west into Lebanon, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Hezbollah, a Shi’ite Muslim group, has provided significant help to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in retaking some territory from Sunni rebels bent on ousting him. In the process, Hezbollah men have often clashed with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rebels, who formally broke with al Qaeda in February and have since made rapid gains in Syria and Iraq.

ISIL, which aims to establish a caliphate based on medieval Islamic principles and spanning the two countries, stunned Iraqi leaders when it overran Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul last week, then thrust south to the fringes of Baghdad. […]