“The army continues to close in on the armed elements … which are firing rockets blindly at neighbouring villages…” — just as Hizballah did last year, firing rockets indiscriminately into northern Israel.
From AFP (thanks to DFS):
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon : The Lebanese army pounded positions of rocket-firing Islamists in heavy clashes around a refugee camp on Friday, as the military’s death toll neared 100 almost eight weeks into a bloody showdown.
Fatah al-Islam militants fired 11 Katyusha-type rockets, most of which crashed in fields several kilometres (miles) to the northeast and south of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, without causing casualties, the army said.
Two more soldiers were killed in the latest clashes, and another died of wounds from fierce fighting on Thursday, an army spokesman said, raising to nine its losses in two days.
While artillery and tanks blasted the camp, the military said elite troops on the ground seized control of a number of buildings and Islamist positions, while army engineers cleared mines and demolished barriers.
“The army continues to close in on the armed elements … which are firing rockets blindly at neighbouring villages, killing a civilian (on Thursday) and wounding several others,” a statement said.
“The terrorists continue to refuse to surrender and continue their inhuman behaviour by preventing members of their families from leaving the camp,” according to the army.
A Palestinian source at nearby Beddawi camp, however, quoted in The Daily Star newspaper on Friday, said earlier it was the wives of the fighters who had refused to evacuate.
“The wives said they want to die with their husbands,” according to the source involved in arranging evacuations.
The fighting erupted on May 20 when the Islamist militants launched a string of attacks on soldiers, killing 27 of them around the Palestinian refugee camp and in the nearby northern port city of Tripoli, the army says.
The government has vowed to wipe out Fatah al-Islam, a shadowy band of Arab Islamist fighters inspired by Al-Qaeda, while Palestinian Muslim clerics have failed in mediation efforts.
They failed? Why? Weren’t they able to convince Fatah al-Islam that the Qur’an actually teaches peace?
The latest deaths have brought to at least 184 the number of people killed, including 95 soldiers and at least 68 Islamists, according to an AFP toll compiled from official sources and reports….
About 80 remaining Fatah al-Islam fighters are being supported by dozens of pro-Syrian Palestinian militants, according to a Palestinian source, citing the mainstream Palestinian activists who were evacuated….
Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has called for the army, as Lebanon marks the first anniversary of the devastating Israel-Hezbollah war, to “put a final end” to the Fatah al-Islam “terrorists”….