Death Toll at 65 in Lebanon- Wanted Terrorist Among Dead
One of the men killed in Sunday’s fighting, Saddam El-Hajdib, was a suspect in a failed German train bombing a sign that Nahr al-Bared refugee camp had become a refuge for militants planning attacks outside of Lebanon. In fact it had been reported that the Al Qaeda-linked group was in the advanced planning stages for spectacular external attacks against civilian targets in Europe and the America.
Lebanese officials say the terrorists have Syrian allegiance and only take orders from Syria.
Soldiers secure the main entrance of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp as smoke rises from within the camp in northern Lebanon May 21, 2007. Lebanese tanks shelled Islamists militants in the camp on Monday and at least eight civilians were killed, raising the death toll in two days of fighting to 65, security sources said. (REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
Lebanese troops and Islamist militants have clashed in the city of Tripoli for a second day, after earlier violence left about 50 people dead.
Troops shelled Fatah al-Islam positions around the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, the focus of much of Sunday’s fighting.
More than 20 soldiers and 20 militants were killed in Sunday’s clashes, and an unconfirmed number of civilians.
It was Lebanon’s bloodiest internal fighting since the country’s civil war ended 17 years ago…
“There are security procedures under way,” Ghazi Aridi said. “We had casualties, but we will continue and those cells have also suffered casualties.”
Mr Aridi said the militants killed on Sunday included “key leaders who have carried out and have been planning to carry out large attacks”.
One of the dead militants was wanted in Germany over an unsuccessful plot to blow up trains last July, Lebanese security officials told journalists.
CNN reported that officials found the bodies of 10 terrorists inside a building where they had been barricaded. Explosives were strapped to two of the bodies.
A bomb also went off at a shopping mall yesterday in a Christian neighborhood of Beirut.
Lebanese police inspect burnt cars a day after an explosion hit the eastern area of Achrafieh in Beirut, Lebanon Monday, May 21, 2007. An explosion across the street from a busy shopping mall killed a 63-year-old woman and injured 12 other people in Beirut late Sunday in the Christian sector of the Lebanese capital, police said. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Tawil)
Ya Libnan reports that Al Qaeda terrorists are attempting to push Lebanon over the edge.
Naharnet has this on Fatah al-Islam… “Little is known about the ideology and backing of Fatah al-Islam. Some officials in Lebanon believe it has ties to al-Qaida, and the group has said it follows an al-Qaida ideology. But other Lebanese officials claim it is simply a Syrian-backed group sent by Damascus to destabilize the country after Syria’s forced withdrawal from Lebanon in April 2005.”
Wanted in Germany…
Lebanese police guard suspects from left to right, Jihad Hamad, khaled Khair-Eddin el-Hajdib, Ayman Hawa and Khalil al-Boubou charged with planting crude bombs on two trains at the Cologne station in Germany on July 31, as they stand in court in Beirut, Lebanon Thursday, May 10, 2007. The trial of four suspects in a failed train bombing in Germany was postponed Thursday until May 22 pending an appeal court decision after the judge rejected a defense request to move the proceedings to the suspects’ northern Lebanon home region, a defense lawyer said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Naharnet has more on the wanted terrorist who was killed in the fighting:
One of the Fatah al-Islam militants killed in fighting with Lebanese troops in the north was a suspect in a failed German train bombing attempt, a Lebanese security official said Monday.
The body of Saddam al-Hajdib was among the burned bodies of 10 fighters found in a building in the northern port city of Tripoli after it was raided by Lebanese soldiers and policemen during Sunday’s fierce fighting with the militants, the official told The Associated Press.
Al-Hajdib was the fourth-highest ranking official in the Fatah al-Islam group, the official said.
He had been on trial in absentia in Lebanon in connection with the failed German plot. It was not clear if Lebanese officials had known his whereabouts before the fighting broke out Sunday in Tripoli and the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Nahar al-Bared where Fatah al-Islam has set up its headquarters.
Al-Hajdib is the brother of Youssef el-Hajdib, who is under arrest in Germany in the bombing attempt.
From Beirut to the Beltway is following the developments.
Good Neighbor Blog says this time it is different- This time the Lebanese government is fighting back.
Across the Bay says Assad is launching this war against Lebanon.