Lebanese army raids militants' last strongholds in northern camp

Updated: 2007-08-26 08:50

BEIRUT - Lebanese army gunship helicopters on Saturday raided Islamist gunmen's last strongholds in a northern Palestinian refugee camp following evacuation of some families of the militants.

The aircraft fired several rockets on the last strongholds of Fatah al-Islam militants in the largely devastated Nahr al-Bared camp, some 12 km north of the Lebanese city of Tripoli, local ANB TV channel reported.

The TV report said that the Lebanese troops advanced farther toward positions of the gunmen in the heart of the camp, indicating that the troops surrounded a number of gunmen and holed up in an underground shelter.

Army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman said on Friday that the fighting in the camp might end within 10 days and indicated that his regular force had refrained from launching an all-out assault to spare civilian lives.

The Lebanese army have been battling with the militants of Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Bared camp since May 20. The bloodiest internal violence since the Lebanese 1975-1990 civil war has killed more than 200 people.

The army has refused to halt its military offensive before the militants surrender, but the gunmen have vowed to fight to the death.

The Lebanese government lists Fatah al-Islam as a terrorist network aimed at destabilizing Lebanon.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours