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  #1  
Old 06-04-2007, 03:52 PM
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Default Fighting breaks out at 2nd Lebanon camp

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070604/...banon_violence

EIN EL-HILWEH CAMP, Lebanon - Violence sparked by a two-week old confrontation between the Lebanese army and al-Qaida inspired militants spread to a second Palestinian refugee camp in the southern part of the country, killing two soldiers, police said Monday.

After sporadic clashes Sunday evening, fighting picked up overnight and resumed briefly Monday morning as Islamic militants of the Jund al-Sham group fired rocket propelled grenades at the army on the edge of the southern Ein el-Hilweh camp, the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The army fired back.

Police said five Lebanese soldiers were wounded in the Ein el-Hilweh clashes. One Jund al-Sham official was wounded and several houses belonging to members of the group were burned by army fire, Lebanese security and Palestinian officials said.

Jund al-Sham, which is based in Ein el-Hilweh, has claimed responsibility or been blamed for a number of bombings and gunbattles, mainly in Lebanon and Syria. Syrian officials have portrayed Jund al-Sham, which is Arabic for Soldiers of historic Syria, as the most active militant group in their country. In Lebanon, the militants are believed to number in the dozens.

About 60 miles to the north along the Mediterranean Sea coast, another militant group, Fatah Islam, continued its 16-day standoff against the army in the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. The sound of gunfire exchanges had tapered by the morning, suggesting the army was conducting pinpoint commando operations inside the camp.

The army brought reinforcements to Nahr el-Bared Monday. Two convoys of a total of 12 armored carriers were spotted heading toward the camp along with five trucks, each carrying 20 soldiers, and several small military vehicles.

The army has been pounding Fatah Islam positions at Nahr el-Bared since May 20 and has moved tanks and armored carriers into the camp in a push to crush the militants, who first appeared in Lebanon last fall and are suspected of having links to al-Qaida.

Many in Lebanon believed the army would be able to quickly crush Fatah Islam inside Nahr el-Bared, but after several days of fierce battles using artillery and tanks, the troops continued to face strong resistance.

The relentless bombardment at Nahr el-Bared, which is located on the outskirts of this port city, has angered Palestinians in some of Lebanon's 11 other refugee camps, a possible recipe for spreading violence.

Back at Ein el-Hilweh, where Jund al-Sham militants are believed to be trying to occupy the army and take the pressure off their Fatah Islam allies, a member of Asbat al-Ansar, another Islamic group that has refused to join the fight and is mediating an end to the confrontation, was killed in the clashes, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to the media.

Asbat al-Ansar, Arabic for the Partisans' League, is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.

An official with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' moderate Fatah faction, said Palestinian groups would be meeting to try to ease the tensions at Ein el-Hilweh, blaming Islamic factions for blocking Fatah from going after Jund al-Sham.

"The camp cannot be taken hostage by 40 gangsters," said Col. Abu Walid Ashi, a Fatah spokesman at Ein el-Hilweh, referring to the Jund al-Sham militants.

"If they let us, we can finish them off in hours," he said. But he warned violence could increase if Fatah decided to make a move against the militants.

Similar attempts to reach a compromise have failed to quell the fighting up north at Nahr el-Bared. The Lebanese government has demanded that Fatah Islam surrender, but the militant group's deputy leader rejected the call in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

"This is not only impossible, this is unthinkable. Our blood is cheaper than handing over our weapons and surrendering," Abu Hureira, a Lebanese whose real name is Shehab al-Qaddour, said Sunday. He also denied the army had made significant progress in its offensive.

"I am still in the same position since the war began," Abu Hureira said. "Our morals are high and the army did not make any advance."

Fatah Islam spokesman Abu Salim Taha, told the AP by cell phone that five Fatah Islam members, including a senior leader, have been killed and seven wounded since Friday, when the latest army offensive began.

A senior Lebanese army officer said nine Lebanese troops have been killed at Nahr el-Bared and about 40 others wounded since Friday. The body of one more soldier was retrieved Sunday.

The casualties raised the army's total death toll to 45 at Nahr el-Bared and two at Ein el-Hilweh since fighting erupted at the northern camp 16 days ago. At least 20 civilians and about 60 militants have also been killed in the northern Lebanon fighting, but casualties in the camp in the last four days were unknown because relief organizations were banned from entering.

___

Associated Press writers Sam F. Ghattas in Beirut and Hussein Dakroub in Tripoli contributed to this report.
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:59 PM
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I there any chance of a UN mandate to help fight in this situation???
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:44 PM
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Rascal, the UN troops are hiding in their bunkers! Don't disturb them they are busy keeping the peace between Hezbollah and Israel.


Beirut Palestinian refugee camps and UNIFIL contingents next in line after Syrian-provoked flare-up spreads to second camp in south

June 4, 2007, 11:51 AM (GMT+02:00)


Al Qaeda-linked Jund al-Sham fighter at Ain Hilwa


Two Lebanese soldiers and 2 al-Qaeda fighters were killed in overnight clashes at the southern camp of Ain Hilwa, after Islamist Jund al-Sham (Army of the Levant) attacked army checkpoints with grenades Sunday night, June 3. Lebanese troops responded with artillery and machine gun fire.

DEBKAfile’s sources report Jund and pro-Syrian Palestinian factions prepared for the battle by building fortifications and evacuating Palestinian families from preset battle zones.

In the northern camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli, the Lebanese army has for more than two weeks been battling stiff resistance from Fatah al Islam boosted by pro-Syrian groups, such as Ahmed Jibril’s PFLP-General Command.

Two commando units have inched forward 400m into the camp, to a loss of some 50 men, seizing and destroying several Fatah al-Islam positions with the help of tank, artillery, helicopter and gunboat fire. But the Islamists have not been crushed.

The spread of anti-government, Damascus-fomented clashes to the southern camp is a very serious development. It places the Palestinian refugee camps of the capital, Beirut, next in the line of fire – likewise the United Nations contingents policing the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Al Qaeda elements among the Palestinians have repeatedly threatened the international force with attack.

In the southern Ain Hilwa camp, our military sources report Lebanese troops face a coalition of radical Palestinian groups linked to al Qaeda and pro-Syrian terrorist factions, copiously armed with weapons and ammo from Damascus and its Lebanese supporters, including Hizballah which is lurking menacingly in the wings. I am shocked and appalled! I am sure as soon as the UN wakes from its 100 year nap it will put an immediate stop to it but for now.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:22 PM
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But is there a future for greater UN involvment if things start to get out of hand.For example,multiple Pally militant groups overwelm the Lebanese forces and then Hizbo sees an oportunity for an Islamic coup in the caos.

Is it possible for Lebanese forces to "invited" Israeli forces to work togeather???Cause I don't think the Leb forces can handle Hizbo and the Pally militants at the same time.The Islamists must not take labanon to form an Islamic republic.

Last edited by Rascal; 06-04-2007 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascal View Post
But is there a future for greater UN involvment if things start to get out of hand.For example,multiple Pally militant groups overwelm the Lebanese forces and then Hizbo sees an oportunity for an Islamic coup in the caos.

Is it possible for Lebanese forces to "invited" Israeli forces to work togeather???Cause I don't think the Leb forces can handle Hizbo and the Pally militants at the same time.The Islamists must not take labanon to form an Islamic republic.
I do not think the Lebanese government could stay in power if they tried to do anything in conjunction with Israeli forces and where could you find a UN nation that could or would commit forces that are not too cowardly to actually face combat operations except the UK, USA, or Israel.

Even then if those forces were under UN control they would be so handicapped by the UN rules they could not possible be anything other than walking targets. The UN is incompetent, corrupt to its very core, unwilling and unable to even condemn to deliberate murder of civilians by Muslim groups with the stated goals of the genocide of a fellow UN member nation in their very charters. If such a group (the United Nations) is so worthless as to be unable to do that of what use they are other than to make its very member nations feel better about the world we live in while not actually doing anything of significance to change it. The UN is but a salve to sooth the collective continuousness’ of those member nations that still has a continuous left in their member nation’s population. A sugar pill to give for sickness affecting this world that makes the patient feel like someone is trying to do something about the sickness but in fact is only fooling the patient.
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Old 06-06-2007, 03:59 PM
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Map of Lebanon locating the Palestinian refugee camps of Nahr al-Bared, where deadly fighting between government troops and Islamic militants entered its third week, and Ein al-Helweh, where new clashes erupted Sunday.

Three soldiers and two Palestinian civilians were wounded in the fighting that broke out at dusk Sunday after a Jund al-Sham militant tossed a hand grenade at an army checkpoint outside the southern Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, police said.
There were conflicting reports on whether Fatah al-Islalm's deputy commander, Abu Hureira, a Lebanese whose real name is Shehab al-Qaddour, was killed in Sunday's gunbattles in Nahr al-Bared or wounded in his shoulder, Al-Arabiya TV reported.
Correspondent for the state-run National News Agency in north Lebanon said army troops were in "full control over all axes" to Nahr al-Bared following heavy confrontations between the military and extremist fighters on Sunday.
NNA said the army advance was part of a plan aimed at tightening the noose on the militants who have been cornered in the operation that began Sunday morning on the camp's Samed, Cooperative and al-Khan neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, Al-Arabiya TV correspondent said in a live report from the scene of the fighting that Lebanese troops penetrated deep into Nahr al-Bared and were engaged in "violent building-to-building" battels with Fatah al-Islam militants around the Cooperative building inside the northern refugee camp.

Earlier, the army denied that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was helping Lebanese troops in their fight against Fatah al-Islam militants.
Officials said Sunday that Fatah al-Islam's third-in-command, Naim Deeb Ghali, also known as Abu Riad, who was known to send fighters to Iraq, was killed in the gunbattles with Lebanese troops.
Fatah Islam's deputy commander, Abu Hureira, a Lebanese whose real name is Shehab al-Qaddour, said that Abu Riad, was killed Friday. Asked if Abu Riad was a senior Fatah al-Islam official, Abu Hureira said, "he is a brother."
LBC television said the army has rounded up more than 20 militants. (from NAHARNET.COM)


http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Army goes back on offensive against Fatah al-Islam
Senior militant denies report that seven fighters surrendered at nahr al-bared


BEIRUT: Fierce combat resumed Tuesday evening at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp after the Lebanese Army had maintained steady pressure throughout the day with sporadic shelling aimed at the camp's southwestern quarter, where Fatah al-Islam militants are reportedly concentrated. After a quiet night, heavy fighting resumed in Nahr al-Bared on Tuesday morning, with exchanges of gunfire and intermittent explosions in the camp. Troops shelled militants' hideouts with artillery fire, while militants fired rocket-propelled grenades.

Since Friday, when the army launched a renewed offensive to crush the militants, periods of furious fighting have alternated with stretches of calm.

While no new casualties were reported on Tuesday by the army, seven Fatah al-Islam members were reported to have surrendered to the mainstream Fatah movement in the besieged camp near the northern port city of Tripoli.

"They came to our office in Nahr al-Bared and surrendered themselves and gave up their weapons," local Fatah commander Major General Khaled Aref said, without providing any further details.

The surrenders are the first reported since the militants rejected Lebanese Army and government demands for the militants to turn themselves over to authorities. The gunmen had vowed to fight to the death.

However, Fatah al-Islam's deputy commander denied that any fighters had surrendered and challenged Fatah to "publish the names and photos of those who surrendered."

"These are lies, part of a campaign to undermine us," Abu Hureira told The Daily Star by telephone on Tuesday.

Abu Hureira confirmed earlier reports released by the army that one of the Islamist group's members had escaped in an ambulance.

"Bilal al-Shaabei is the one who left with the ambulance, and he is a brother of Haj Nasser, one of our senior members," said Abu Hureira.
The army released a statement on Tuesday in which it summarized its latest operations.

"Army units continue to tighten their circle around the armed groups inside Nahr al-Bared and were able to destroy their positions on the camp's edges, forcing them to retreat and flee toward the central neighborhoods," the army statement said.

"These [army] units are now defusing booby-traps and cleansing the buildings and positions that the gunmen abandoned," the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian and Lebanese Red Cross evacuated 11 people on Tuesday from the Nahr al-Bared camp, most of them women, children and the elderly.

About 27,000 of Nahr al-Bared's 40,000 residents have fled, many of them to the nearby Beddawi camp.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the UN agency charged with looking after Palestinian refugees, has launched an appeal for $12.7 million to meet the urgent needs of the displaced.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed on Tuesday his denunciation of the Fatah al-Islam militants and reiterated that the group has nothing to do with Palestinians.

In a speech in the West Bank to mark 40 years of Israeli occupation, the Palestinian president accused the militants of "abusing the camps" to carry out attacks against the Lebanese Army and of "endangering the lives of Palestinians" residing in the camp.

Security sources said one of the Fatah al-Islam members in custody, Ahmad Merhi, who was arrested while staying in a luxury hotel in Beirut's Achrafieh neighborhood, confessed to smuggling fighters into Lebanon from Syria via illegal crossing points in the Bekaa and North Lebanon.

The security sources said that Merhi would rent out apartments for the fighters in Beirut before transferring them to the Palestinian camps, usually to Nahr al-Bared.
The Central News Agency reported on Tuesday that there was a secret meeting on Sunday night between Lebanese Army commander General Michel Suleiman and Abbas Zaki, the Palestine Liberation Organization representative in Lebanon, regarding the situation in the camps. - With agencies

' Troops catch eight illegals near syrian border'


Al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Lebanese Army stopped eight individuals who were trying to sneak into Lebanon from Syria through a crossing in the Bekaa.
They were using one of the mountainous roads between Rashiyeh and Anjar that has been used in the past to smuggle weapons and people. The people stopped were Syrian, Iraqi and Sudanese nationals.
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