28 July 2007

Lebanese army in final phase of fighting against militants

Beirut - The Lebanese army are in their final stage of fighting to defeat Islamist militants holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon, an army source said Saturday. "We are now in our final stage of the fighting ... but this will require fierce fighting," a Lebanese army source said.

"They (militants) have refused to surrender ... so we have no choice, but to fight them and make them surrender," he said.

Hospital sources in northern Lebanon said that one Lebanese soldier was killed in the fighting Saturday, while two bodies were brought in to the morgue as a result of the fighting Friday.

According to Lebanese security sources, the Lebanese army stormed a tiny enclave held by Fatah al-Islam in the northern sector of the Nahr al-Bared camp Saturday, killing at least eight militants.

The state-run NNA said eight militants were killed in a sudden attack carried out by commando units of the Lebanese army against the Amqa sector, inside the ruined camp.

Lebanese army troops are now deep inside the camp fighting at close qaurters the al-Qaeda inspired militants of Fatah al-Islam, according to the security sources.

So far the army has lost some 121 soldiers since the battles started on May 20 in what was described as Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-1990 civil war, erupted on May 20.

Unconfirmed Palestinian sources said that some 85 Fatah al-Islam fighters and 41 civilians have also been killed since the fighting broke out.

The army said in a statement Saturday it was doing everything possible to allow scores of civilians to leave the camp, but that militants were stopping their families from leaving.

"The army's leadership ... reiterates its call on the gunmen to allow their family members esepcially the women and children to leave and holds them responsible for what might happen to them if they refuse," it said.

Palestinian sources said the families of Fatah al-Islam, are estimated to be 20 women and 45 children.

Most of the camp's 40,000 residents, have been evacuated and are now living in schools in the nearby Bedawi camp and some 11 camps scattered across Lebanon.

Fatah al-Islam, surfaced in Lebanon last year. It has Lebanese, Palestinians and other Arabs in its ranks, including some who have fought in Iraq. It says it supports al Qaeda's ideas, but has no direct links with it.-(earthtimes)

1 comment:

BigDoggChief said...

..army is deep inside...almost going to finish this battle...
what's this???
I thought this was over long back when Murr came on TV and discussed how they finished thi sthis whole thing and irradicated the terrorists!!!
no...it looks like it's a best seller again!
well...i see no reaction or correction to what happened or to what has been declared....
ok...but now...what i shappening? or shouldn't we ask?

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.