Lebanon: At least seven soldiers killed in clashes
The Lebanese army said it was closing in Wednesday on the last pockets of Islamist gunmen in a battered refugee camp after two months of battles with high losses for the military. The bodies of four soldiers, including victims of booby-trapped buildings, were recovered from the rubble of the Nahr al-Bared camp and three more died in fighting on Tuesday, an army spokesman told AFP.
The latest deaths brought the military's official toll to 107 in and around Nahr al-Bared and the nearby port city of Tripoli since its battle erupted on May 20.
Unofficial reports claim Fatah Islam lost at least 74 fighters. A doctor at a state-run hospital in Tripoli said the facility has received 39 corpses of Islamist and allied fighters since the outbreak of fighting. And a military source said the army had recovered another 35 corpses during mopping-up operations in Nahr al-Bared.
The fighters of Fatah al-Islam "are now in dispersed small pockets," an army spokesman told AFP. "The noose is tightening." Another military official said "the army is expanding its area of control and is closing in on remaining militants fighting in certain pockets of the Nahr al-Bared camp."
The official told The Associated Press the military was in the "final stages of having full control" of the main road separating the new camp and the so-called "old camp" sections of Nahr al-Bared.