Last updated: July 15, 2007
July 12, 2007
The declaration of victory was premature . . .
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (AFP) - Six Lebanese soldiers were killed Thursday during a heavy assault on a refugee camp the army says signals the "first step" in a final battle against Islamist fighters holed up there for almost eight weeks.
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Lebanese artillery was in action since daybreak, striking positions of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam militia in the south of the camp, where a few hundred people are still believed to be living although water and food are in short supply.
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Almost all of the camp's original population of about 31,000 people fled during lulls in the battle.
At the nearby Beddawi camp, to where most of the displaced have been evacuated, Jumana Wehbe who fled Nahr al-Bared on Wednesday described conditions in the besieged shantytown.
"The few people remaining in the camp have been drinking from an artesian well, and from water tanks," she said. "They eat the remains of what people leaving the camp left behind."
Wehbe, in her mid-30s, who survived in a security zone set up by the mainstream Palestinian group Fatah, described the Fatah al-Islam militants as "fanatics" who regarded a loud woman's voice as contrary to Islam.
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Samar Hindi, 18, who arrived in Beddawi more than a month ago to seek refuge in a packed room with more than 10 others, said: "When we left, we carried nothing with us. We thought, like our parents did in 1948, that we were going back in two or three days."
July 14, 2007
This is how Fatah al-Islam fights its wars
by Michel Moutot
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon, June 21, 2007 (AFP) - . . .
"They're fighting like rats -- it's very hard to see them," a Lebanese army sergeant resting behind the lines told AFP on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
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"Their firing points are camouflaged. They are in several, and run from one to the other," the sergeant said.
"When they open fire from one position we spot them and reply with everything we've got. But it's often too late -- the shooter has already gone."
Motivated, trained, well-armed and mobile, the Sunni Islam militants of Fatah al-Islam are thought to contain veterans of the anti-American insurgency in Iraq among their ranks.
The army has been taken aback by the ferocity of their resistance.
"They made holes in the walls of the houses so they can pass from one to the other without coming out into the open," the sergeant said. "We think they also have tunnels. They're operating in rapid reaction teams of two or three. That's why the fight is so hard."
Lebanese army heavy guns have concentrated their fire for weeks on the northern sector of Nahr al-Bared -- the "new" camp which is a spillover of the original Palestinian refugee camp whose boundaries were set in 1948 by the United Nations.
It was there that Fatah al-Islam chief Shaker al-Abssi, a Palestinian, had set up his command post. The northern part of the camp is now a blasted wasteland, devastated by tonnes of high explosive shell bursts.
The soldiers are advancing slowly as they secure the northern area, fearful of mines and booby traps that have already killed several of their number.
De-mining teams precede them as large bulldozers, protected by sandbags and metal plates, wait in the rear, ready to go into action.
The surviving militants have now withdrawn into the southern part of Nahr al-Bared, which is in principle controlled by more moderate factions such as the Fatah of Palestinian president Amhmud Abbas.
Fatah officials have said the order was given to prevent such a move, but clearly this has not been obeyed everywhere.
"It is impossible that they could hold out for more than a month without the help of at least some local fighters," said Mustafa Adib, director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies in nearby Tripoli.
"Their cause is a popular one among some of the younger people in the camps, but also among radical jihadists who are well established in the area," he told AFP.
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July 15, 2007
haha.... good memory work !!
yeah well, if it's not Syria, it's HA. If it's not HA, it's fatah al-islam. If it is not fatah al-islam, it's jund al-cham. if it's not jund al-sham, it's ansar al-cham. if it's.... ok ok, i'll soon reach the message size limit, so I'll stop here.
Where does it end ? is there a fanatics factory somewhere, working overtime ?? (swear it's not me :D )
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jul. 15, 2007
Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued at Nahr el-Bared as the army pounded suspected militant hideouts with artillery shells and tank fire.
The fighters responded with machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the officials. They said two soldier was killed in Sunday's fighting.
The army was making progress toward Fatah Islam positions, they said. Witnesses also reported seeing a few Lebanese flags hoisted on the roofs of destroyed buildings inside the camp where the army appeared to be in control.
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In a separate incident Sunday, gunmen killed a Palestinian militant in what appeared to be a revenge attack in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, Lebanese and Palestinian security officials said.
Darar al-Rifai, 27, a militant from the Jund al-Sham group, was hit by four bullets fired by masked gunmen who ambushed him as he left his home in the Safsaf neighborhood inside the Palestinian refugee camp. Al-Rifai was reportedly involved in the killing of two guerrillas of the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement more than a month ago.
Jund al-Sham is believed to be a splinter faction from Asbat al-Ansar, one of the over a dozen Palestinian groups based in Lebanon.
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