10 July 2007

10 Saudi Islamists killed in Lebanon unrest

BEIRUT (AFP) - Lebanese authorities have identified the bodies of 10 Saudis among Fatah al-Islam militants killed in fighting with the army in northern Lebanon, a senior security official said on Monday.

"We have identified the bodies of 10 Saudis among the 27 bodies taken by police" since clashes first erupted between the Islamists and Lebanese armed forces on May 20, he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said 17 bodies of Fatah al-Islam combattants were found in the main northern port city of Tripoli and 10 others nearby.

"Police have not taken away the body of any combattant from inside Nahr al-Bared," he said, referring to the impoverished camp near Tripoli where clashes are continuing.

He said the body of Fatah al-Islam spokesman Abu Salim Taha, who has been reportedly killed in the clashes, was not among the 27 bodies recovered by police.

"I don't think that Abu Salim is Saudi. He is probably a Palestinian national," he said.

The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan said on Sunday that six Saudi militants had been killed in the clashes, including Abu Salim Taha whose real name is Al-Hamadi Abdullah al-Dussari, 23.

"We are running DNA tests in order to identify the combattants, most of whom were carrying false passports or false identity cards," the Lebanese security official said.

On July 2, Sultan Abul Aynayn, the Lebanon chief of the mainstream Fatah faction, told AFP that 42 Saudis figured among the Fatah al-Islam militiamen fighting the army.

He said 20 had been killed, one has surrendered, and another 21 were still holed up inside Nahr al-Bared, three of them wounded.

The Al-Qaeda-inspired group is also made up of Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian fighters, according to the army, which has been battling Fatah al-Islam in the bloodiest internal violence since the 1975-1990 civil war.

According to a count compiled from official figures, the conflict has claimed at least 173 lives, including 85 soldiers. Many bodies are believed to have abandoned amid the ruins of Nahr al-Bared.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard it's more than 10...like 50's....

Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.