Camp falls & the Lebanese are celebrating victory at last
Sunday, 2 September, 2007 @ 5:06 PM
Beirut - Eyewitnesses have reported that the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon has fallen and the army appears in complete control and is now chasing the fleeing militants.
There are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Shaker el-Absi the leader of the militant Fatah al-Islam terrorist organization. One eyewitness reported that he was captured by the army, but other eyewitnesses reported that he was able to escape.
Salim Taha, the last known spokesman of Fatah al-Islam has already surrendered to the Lebanese army according to army sources. Many other militants were captured according to the same sources.
The latest reports revealed that the army today killed 32 militants , but lost five soldiers to sniper fire, raising to 158 the total number of troops killed in the conflict.
Currently there is a huge traffic jam north of the camp. The Lebanese troops have set up road blocks for checking the vehicles for fleeing Fatah al-Islam militants.
Even in the Lebanese capital Beirut, over an hour's drive to the south, officials searched vehicles at military checkpoints set up on major streets. Other checkpoints went up along the coastal highway linking the north with Beirut, causing traffic jams.
State television reported that Lebanese residents of nearby villages, armed with guns and sticks, fanned out to protect their houses and prevent militants from melting into the local population. Smoke billowed from a field near the camp where residents said the army set fire to bushes to deny militants a hiding place.
The Lebanese residents in north Lebanon are celebrating the victory of the army. Fireworks are everywhere in north Lebanon in celebration. Troops were showered with roses and rice , in appreciation of their courage and sacrifices.
As we publish this article Lebanese are firing celebration shots in the air at news that the army finished off Fatah al-Islam, while others are waving the Lebanese flags and chanting as convoys of cars honk their horns.
The army was not ready yet to formally declare an end to fighting in the camp, large parts of which have been destroyed by army bombardments in the siege.
Fighting between the army and Fatah al- Islam militants broke out on May 20 and the Lebanese have been anxiously waiting for this day to celebrate victory.
Update - 6:00 PM Beirut time:
Army sources have reported that the troops were able to capture additional 24 militants of Fatah al Islam this afternoon. This raises the number of militants that were captured today to 40.
Update - 6:10PM Beirut time:
The Lebanese army has issued an appeal to the Lebanese citizens urging them not to fire any shots( in celebration of the victory ) to show respect to the Lebanese army troops that fell victim during the fight.
The army has also called on the Palestinians to stay away from the Nahr el Bared camp and not totry to return to it under any condition, since it is totally destroyed and will be rebuilt by the Lebanese government as soon as possible . Similar appeals were made by the Palestinian leadership in Lebanon.
Update - 6:25PM Beirut time:
The National News Agency has reported that the army has captured Shaker el-Absi the fugitive leader of the militant Fatah al-Islam terrorist organization. There were many conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Absi and many have reported that he was able to escape.
Picture: Lebanese soldiers flash the "V" for victory signs as they patrol an area near the besieged Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon. The Lebanese army has taken full control of the refugee camp where it has besieged Islamist militants for the past three months
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Victory in Lebanon
For the past three months, the Lebanese Army has been battling an al-Qaida-affiliated militant group holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. The Lebanese Army has finally achieved victory -- at a cost of 158 troops in those three months. Proportionate to their relative national populations, 158 Lebanese troops represent the same percentage loss as 11,850 troops would be to the USA.