Two more Lebanese troops killed in clashes
Two more Lebanese troops died on Tuesday as troops pressed their offensive against Islamists in north Lebanon for the fifth week. According to AFP, the troops died in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp where the army has besieged Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam fighters in a battle that has left 140 dead, including 73 soldiers, since it erupted on May 20.
"Two soldiers were killed in fighting this morning," a military spokesman told AFP. Unofficial sources said the two died as a bomb planted by Fatah Islam men exploded. On Monday, the Lebanese military lost three troops as they tried to make safe ordnance in positions that had apparently been booby-trapped by retreating Fatah al-Islam forces.
Early on Tuesday, tanks and artillery pounded the northern seashore sector of the Palestinian camp north of the port city of Tripoli where Fatah al-Islam fighters are believed to be holed up. Since the weekend, the army said it had destroyed or seized control of at least six Fatah al-Islam posts. Both sides also exchanged assault-rifle and machine-gun fire.
The month-long clashes have destroyed much of the northern sector of the camp.
A delegation of mediators entered the camp on Monday in an attempt to secure a unilateral ceasefire from the militants. One of them, Mustapha Dawood, told AFP that the team had come up with a comprehensive plan aimed at securing a ceasefire within 48 hours if the Lebanese army agrees to the terms of the arrangement.
On Tuesday Arab League chief Amr Mussa was expected in Beirut in a new attempt aimed at trying to solve Lebanon's political crisis through dialogue between its anti- and pro-Syrian camps.