Source AP ©

Lebanese army attacks Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon

Lebanese army troops unleashed barrages of artillery and tank shells Wednesday at Islamic militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, witnesses and security officials said.

In some of the heaviest bombardment of Nahr el-Bared in weeks, army cannons fired shells at a rate of 8 to 10 every minute at suspected Fatah Islam positions inside the camp. The shelling could be heard in the nearby port city of Tripoli for several hours before it subsided around mid morning, witnesses said.

The army action, which began at dawn Wednesday, follows days of low intensity fighting during which soldiers continued to push their way deeper into the camp, seizing weapons and other military equipment from tunnels dug by the militants

A senior military official said Wednesday that two soldiers were killed in military operations a day earlier, raising to 118 the number of troops killed since fighting with the al-Qaida-inspired militants broke out in the camp on May 20.

Security officials, who also asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, said the army shelling on Wednesday mainly targeted the Saasaa neighborhood of the camp, where remaining militants are thought to be hiding in underground shelters and bunkers.

The state-run National News Agency said the shelling destroyed a number of buildings and that troops stormed a shelter, killing several fighters hiding inside. The report could not be independently confirmed.

It said two Katyusha rockets were fired from inside the camp, landing in farm fields a few kilometers (miles) north without causing casualties.

Throughout last week, the army used loudspeakers to urge the militants to surrender or allow their families to leave the camp, but they have vowed to fight to the death.

The gunmen have recently been firing Katyusha rockets on nearby villages on an almost daily basis in what appears to be a new tactic to ease the army's pressure. A Lebanese teenager was killed and a young girl was injured last week in the rocket attacks.

Fatah Islam spokesman Abu Salim Taha has also warned they would send suicide bombers against the army if it continued its offensive.

The conflict with the militants is Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-90 civil war. An undetermined number of militants - at least 60 - and more than 20 civilians have been killed in the fighting, according to Lebanese government and U.N. relief officials.

Comments
Moving inexorably towards war
Malaysia complains of faulty Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Without INF Treaty, USA can destroy Russian nuclear weapons easily
Malaysia complains of faulty Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets
Without INF Treaty, USA can destroy Russian nuclear weapons easily
USA plays to pretend a mighty dragon that can no longer breathe fire
USA plays to pretend a mighty dragon that can no longer breathe fire
Putin sees no drama if Russia misses Davos forum
Macron challenges Trump. French independence and croissants at stake
Putin's three days in Singapore mark Russia's major geopolitical changes since 2000
Putin's three days in Singapore mark Russia's major geopolitical changes since 2000
Moving inexorably towards war
Putin dislikes the idea of US army bases coming to Kuril Islands
Putin dislikes the idea of US army bases coming to Kuril Islands
Putin sees no drama if Russia misses Davos forum
How can Americans and Russians understand each other?
How can Americans and Russians understand each other?