The Lebanese Army has announced a pause in fighting with Islamic State militants to help facilitate hostage negotiations for security personnel IS took prisoner in 2014.

The armed forces launched their campaign against IS militants entrenched in the mountainous Jurud Ras Baalbek and Jurud al-Qaa areas on Lebanon’s eastern border in mid-August.

“The army command announces a ceasefire beginning at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) to make way for the last phase of negotiations linked to the fate of the kidnapped soldiers,” the army said in a statement on Sunday.

Nine prisoners are believed still to be held by IS after militants overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal in August 2014 and kidnapped 30 soldiers and police.