Hundreds of people have lined Lebanon's main northern highway to cheer on troops returning from the hard-fought victory in Nahr el Bared. The mood in the country has been ecstatic since the Army Command, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense have each, in turn, announced the end of major military operations in the camp. According to the Lebanese daily An Nahar, the celebrations are to culminate in a massive parade in the town of Jbeil (Byblos), later today (we'll have pix as they become available).
The Battle of Nahr el Bared claimed the lives of 163 Lebanese soldiers and resulted in the death of 222 Fatah al Islam militants and the capture of another 202.
Lebanese civilians dance and chant slogans for soldiers leaving the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp after defeating Islamist militants, in Tripoli city, north Lebanon September 4, 2007. (REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim, LEBANON)
A Lebanese woman flashes V sign to Lebanese special forces soldiers units who withdrew from the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp to their bases in central Lebanon, ... , in the northern town of Anfeh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
An aunt of a Lebanese special forces soldier, kisses his head when he got back home safely from the fighting in the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, after his arrival at the northern town of Batroun, Lebanon, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
And the good times keep coming! The celebratory mood rolled into Beirut, right alongside a returning victorious Army this evenning, where it was met with music, fireworks, and dancing in the streets. Some continued to insist on politically "coloring" the celebrations but it is undoubtedly the country as a whole that is erupting with joy this week.
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