From Yahoo! News:
Lebanese troops pounded a Palestinian refugee camp with artillery and tank fire for a second day Monday, raising huge columns of smoke as they battled a militant group suspected of ties to al-Qaida in the worst violence since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.
Nearly 50 combatants were killed in the first day of fighting Sunday, but it was not known how many civilians have been killed inside the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the northern port city of Tripoli.
Palestinian officials in the camp reported at least nine civilians were killed Monday, along with 40 wounded. The figures could not be confirmed because emergency workers or security officials have not been able to get in.
The White House said it supports Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora’s efforts to deal with fighting, and the State Department defended the Lebanese army, saying it was working in a “legitimate manner” against “provocations by violent extremists” operating in the camp.
Black smoke filled the sky over Nahr el-Bared as fires raged for hours and heavy gunfire and explosions rang out constantly. Shells could be seen thudding into buildings in the seaside camp.
Fighting paused briefly in the afternoon to allow the evacuation of 18 wounded civilians, according to Saleh Badran of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. But the fighting quickly resumed. Ambulances raced through the streets of nearby Tripoli, where many shops were closed and many residents stayed inside.
“There are many wounded. We’re under siege. There is a shortage of bread, medicine and electricity. There are children under the rubble,” Sana Abu Faraj, a refugee, told Al-Jazeera television by cell phone from the camp.
Lebanon was already in the midst of its worst political crisis between the Western-backed government and Hezbollah-led opposition since the end of the civil war.
Publius Pundit has this:
Fatah al-Islam terrorists paid and used as proxy by Bashar al Assad to create havoc in Lebanon triggered a bloody street battle today in Tripoli (second city as importance after Beirut) The good news is that the national Lebanese army is now in control of the situation.
I strongly believe that the UN investigation in Hariri’s assassinations (and let us not forget the chain of assassinations and attempts of assassinations that followed) is close to publicly affirm, not only suggest as it did so far, the extent of Syrian involvement in these crimes. Truth is nearing the surface and this is the reason of the recent violent clashes.
h/t: Simon Carl and Alfred, who writes an interesting post about alleged root causes of terrorism.
From EL Mundo.es:
A Lebanese Minister assured that the crashed with Fatah al Islam, group which he links to Syria (something Syria has denied.. ehem), seem to have as a target to interfere in the possibility of stablishing an International Crimnal Court who judges the responsbles of the political murders in the “cedar country“.
You can also go to BlackSmiths of Lebanon. Yesterday they wrote:
While Lebanese Army reinforcements continued to roll into the city, it residents descended onto the streets (where it was safe enough) and cheered the soldiers on, reaffirming their support and belief in the sovereignty of the state and its monopoly over the use of weapons, as represented through the Lebanese Army.
If this was the first assault in this new phase of the war Syria has declared on Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability then the Lebanese have, yet again, won. Throughout the day, the residents of the country’s second largest city continuously placed their trust and safety in the hands of the state. Today, the nation as a whole stands united behind its fighting men, and the families of those soldiers who died defending our rights to be free of the terrorists and murderers who have tried, are trying, and will try to stamp out our spirit.
The Naharnet news website, has reported from sources inside the camp, that Fatah al-Islam gunmen have resorted to using the residents of the camp as human shields, firing on those trying to get out of the camp as well as humanitarian organisations which had attempted to evacuate the wounded as part of an earlier agreed upon ceasefire.
It is curious that Yahoo! did not write about that, is it??
By the way, in the comments they say that Lebanese people are helping the Lebanese Army and that some civilians have caught and turned in two fugitives. Good for them!
Gateway Pundit reports:
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.
And Reuters gives some of its space to a representative of Fatah al-Islam, who blames Lebanon -unsurprisingly-:
Abu Salim, a spokesman for Fatah al-Islam, blamed the army for the flare-up and threatened to ignite violence elsewhere.
“If the situation stays like this we will not be silent and will definitely move the battle outside (the nearby city) of Tripoli,” he told Reuters by telephone.
He said the group had lost five dead and nine wounded inside the camp since fighting erupted early on Sunday. Palestinian sources in Nahr al-Bared said the bombardment on Monday had killed nine civilians and wounded 20.
Well, as I said, no surprise at all.
The battle was an unprecedented showdown between the Lebanese army and militant groups that have arisen in Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps, which are home to tens of thousands of people living amid poverty and crime and which Lebanese troops are not allowed to enter.
He also underlines that the people there were been trained to commit attacks in other countries.
But that’s just my opinion makes a bloggers’ roundup.
European Union: In a joint statement, the 27
condemn “most energetically” the attacks against the lebanese security forces and the bomb attack in Beirut that has produced a mortal victim and several wounded. They also express their support to the Government of the PM Fuad Siniora.
“The presidency asks Lebanon to reject violence and to do everything possible to prevent the situation for going even worse”, the statement says.