North Lebanon: Three more troops killed in clashes
Three Lebanese troops died in sporadic fighting with al-Qaida-inspired militants barricaded in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, a senior military official said Monday. The three soldiers died Sunday in battles with Fatah Islam gunmen holed up in a small area of the besieged Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the port city of Tripoli, the official told The Associated Press.
The official added that two soldiers who were killed July 14 but whose deaths were not made public at the time, were pulled from the rubble of a building in the camp on Friday.
The deaths raised to 116 the number of troops killed since fighting broke out in the camp more than two months ago, the official said. "The army will continue its military operations until the (Fatah Islam) gunmen surrender to Lebanese authorities," he said.
Last week, the army used loudspeakers to urge the militants to surrender, but they have vowed to fight to the death.
In a statement Sunday night, the Lebanese military called on the Fatah Islam gunmen "to give themselves up quickly before it's too late" and also to let their families leave the camp. The military statement said troops had seized weapons and sophisticated military equipment as they pushed their way into the camp.
"The army units are still working to eliminate mines, booby traps and barriers in order to ensure the troops' movement and safety," the statement said.