Sunday, June 03, 2007

Breaking News: Lebanese Army Continues Offensive


Quick Update:
After another brief lull in the fighting at around 5:00 pm, fighting re-erupted in the Nahr el Bared camp. The Lebanese Army engaged in intense building-to-building battles with militants and called in heavy artillery bombardments at different points in the battle. Meanwhile reports have started emerging of a number of special forces operations that have resulted in the capture or death of Fatah al Islam militants inside the camp.

We'll have details when they come out, and don't forget to follow up on the situation in the Ein el Helweh camp where the Lebanese Army and gunmen from the mainstream Fatah movement have engaged militants from another Syrian-backed Islamic fundamentalist group by the name of Jund al Sham after its militants attacked an Army position near the northern entrance of that camp!

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Quick Update:

After a brief lull in the violence around noon-time, fierce fighting re-erupted in the Nahr el Bared camp as the Lebanese Army continued to advance towards the center of the camp where remnants of the Syrian-backed Fatah al Islam militant group are barricaded.

The Lebanese Army has announced the death of another soldier, bringing the death toll to eight over the last few days of fighting.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Fatah al Islam snipers were spotted on rooftops in the camp while a Fatah Islam militant was witnessed firing rocket-propelled grenades at army positions from the minaret of a mosque.

News services also reported that militants (numbering at least 100 gunmen) from the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement have prevented repeated attempted infiltrations of the civilian population by Fatah al Islam militants throughout the day. The Fatah (not Fatah al Islam) militants were brought into the camp in the early stages of the conflict and siege to ensure the separation between Syrian-backed Fatah al Islam fighters and the civilian Palesitinian population of the camp.

Quick Commentary by Blacksmith Jade:

The Lebanese government, in conjunction with UNSC Resolution 1559 has called for the disarmament of all non-state militias in Lebanon, but has been hampered in its efforts at implementing the resolution by a series of actions (no less than a war last summer) by Hizballah and its allies that have crippled the functionality of the country's political institutions.

Earlier in this conflict, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah had sought to cripple the Lebanese Army's ability to respond to the security crisis in Nahr el Bared by declaring that the Army should not enter the camp and that it was a "red line".

Today, and throughout this entire crisis, all the Lebanese stand united in their support of the Lebanese Army and in defiance of the campaign of terror that Fatah al Islam's primary backers in Syria have attempted to unleash on the country, and in defiance of the hand-binding that Hassan Nasrallah and the state-within-a-state he is the Secretary General of has attempted to impose on the Lebanese Army.

We live in an imperfect country but we want to work through its institutions to fix it. We want our Army to be strong, we want it defend us, and we want it to have a monopoly on arms in the country.

Today we salute all those fighting for Lebanon in Nahr el Bared, and all those who have fallen in our name. You make us proud.

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Update:

Fighting resumed this morning between the Lebanese Army and what remains of the Fatah al Islam militants after two days of fighting and two nights of calm. The news of the renewed fighting this morning brought with it some new revelations on the situation inside the camp.

The Reuters news agency reported that a Lebanese soldier was killed in overnight fighting, raising to seven the number of soldiers killed since Friday. According to a number of news sources, a leading Fatah al Islam commander by the name of Abu Riad Ghali, was killed by a Lebanese Army sniper on Saturday. Ghali, a religious figure within the militant group, was said to also have significant ties to the Jund al Sham, another pro-Syrian group operating in Lebanon's Ein el Helweh Palestinian Refugee Camp, near the southern coastal city of Saida.

Sources in Lebanon also revealed that the Army had captured up to 20 militants at the Ta3ounia building after they had initially refused to surrender. This as other sources revealed the presence of up to 1,000 special forces soldiers operating in and around the camp, supported by various 'regular' artillery, armor, infantry, naval, and air force units from the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, has reported that interrogations of captured Fatah al Islam militants have revealed a plot to carry out a series of attacks on major hotels in Beirut and two highway tunnels located near the town of Chikka and connecting northern Lebanon to the capital Beirut and the rest of the country. Other sources in Lebanon also revealed that included in those attacks were plans to bomb two diplomatic missions in Beirut. Explosives for the attack, according to An-Nahar's online affiliate, Naharnet, were brought in from Syria and confiscated by the Lebanese Army in the northern city of Tripoli.

For its part, Fatah al Islam has released a statement accusing UNIFIL forces of engaging in bombardment of their positions in the Nahr el Bared camp. The claim, vehemently denied by UNIFIL spokesmen in Lebanon, is feared to be a prelude to an openning of a front by the group and/or its Syrian-backed allies in Lebanon and other Palestinian Refugee Camps within a wider Syria campaign to instigate instability in the smaller and militarily weaker country.

According to the Dailystar, approximately 60 civilians had been wounded in the fighting by mid-day Saturday, but that none had been killed. Other sources in Lebanon shared that evaluation by mid-day Sunday although the claim has not been independently verified or corroborated.

The official website of the Lebanese Forces, meanwhile, reported that gunmen belonging to the mainstream Fatah movement, had prevented attempted infiltrations of the civilian population on the southern end of the camp by Fatah al Islam militants.

Approximately 100 Fatah militiamen were brought into Nahr el Bared, early in the fighting in the camp, from other camps around the country, to secure an effective separation between the Palestinian civilian population in the camp and the Syrian-sponsored Islamic militants. The Lebanese Army had also secured the evacuation of up to 90% of the civilian population.

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Saturday, June 2nd, 2007:

Here is a video of the fighting I found online. The filmers claim they are 200 meters away from the battle....and I believe them!


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Updates from Naharnet, the LF website and tayyar.org:
  • The LA is now in control of about a 1/4 of the camp
  • Lebanese Army commando forces are moving in on the "al taawouniya" building inside the camp where members of fath al islam are hiding
  • The army has seized a number of militants during the clashes
  • The Lebanese Army has surrounded the "Samed" center in the Nahr al Bared camp
  • Lebanese Army troops punch through the eastern flank of Nahr al-Bared camp tightening the grip on Fatah al-Islam militants.
  • Fatah al-Islam lost 42 fighters in two days of clashes with the Lebanese Army in Nahr al-Bared camp.
  • Fatah al-Islam militants setting up combat outposts at mosques and medical centers in Nahr al-Bared camp.
  • Islamist fighters evacuate families from the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein al-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon.
  • The highest rising buiding in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared was demolished in a series of mysterious explosions.
  • The Lebanese Army Command urged citizens of Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp to oust intruders and criminals, in reference to Fatah al-Islam.
  • Lebanese troops stormed Nahr al-Bared's Cooperative compound and were clearing it from Fatah al-Islam militants.
  • Lebanese troops advance through the Nar al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp and clear off booby-trapped buildings.
  • Suicide bombers from Fatah al-Islam blow themselves up at the Thawra Mosque and an adjacent building in Nahr al-Bared camp.
  • Islamist militants of Jund al-Sham group went on maximum alert at the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon after the army tightened the grip on Fatah al-Islam militants in north Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared camp.
  • The Lebanese Army lost six "martyrs" in clashes with Fatah al-Islam militants since outbreak of hostilities in Nahr al-Bared camp at Dawn Friday.
  • Fatah al-Islam militants set up Butane-Cylinder defense lines to block the Lebanese Army's advance across their remaining outposts in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
  • Lebanese troops defused booby-trapped cars deserted by Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared.
  • Fatah al-Islam militants rigged domestic animals with explosives at Nahr al-Bared camp.
  • Premier Fouad Saniora said there could be no reconciliation, entente or settlement with Fatah al-Islam.
  • Premier Fouad Saniora said the government is coordinating efforts with the army to uproot Fatah al-Islam.



Photos courtesy of Yahoo!News

10 comments:

  1. Just wanna say thanks for your excellent website with all the last minute updates. Much appreciated!

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  2. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Future Television reported that Fatah al Islam militants are shooting at civilians they see talking on cell phones.

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  3. Jimmy1:19 PM

    The Army has now launched a full-fledged assault on the southern sector of the camp where there were lots of civilians.

    The Army took time to make sure they were safe before, and I think now they feel the time is right, maybe due to Fatah guys seperating FAI from civilians.

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  4. what the hell?

    what is the FAI trying to achieve?

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  5. Don Cox3:24 PM

    "what is the FAI trying to achieve?"____Martyrdom, and to kill as many other people in the process as possible. These are people who believe in an after-life consisting of Hell and Paradise, and think that a death that involves killing others will get them into Paradise.

    ReplyDelete
  6. They trying to create severe casualties among the Palestinian population.

    They themselves aren't Palestinian. They're a group of fundamentalist extremists assembled by the Syrians, and hailing from all corners of the Islamic world (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, etc...).

    By creating a humanitarian crisis in the camp, they hope to create allies in the Palestinians (all of whom have rejected their presence in the camp, describing it as a hijacking) and creating justification (and cover) for a series of conflicts between Lebanese authorities and other Syrian-backed groups in other camps.

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  7. If anyone has any updates they're encouraged to post them in the comments section.

    Thanks.

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  8. what a disaster..

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  9. hang on - so you saying this is a syrian backed initiative? because they are the only ones i can see with a motive and to be honest i cant even understand their motive.. what threat does lebanon pose on syria? is it one of isolation? ie if lebanon normalises - does this serve to further alienate syria?

    my ignorance pains even me..

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  10. For updates on the situation please refer to the following thread:

    Fighting in the Camps

    ReplyDelete

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