Lebanese forces killed at least 31 gunmen who tried to flee a Palestinian refugee camp on Sunday, security sources said. Eleven more fighters from the Fatah al-Islam group were captured when they tried to break out of the Nahr al-Bared camp in north Lebanon.
Following the fight, the Lebanese army took full control on the Palestinian camp, a senior security source said. "The battle is over. The Lebanese army has seized the last positions of Fatah al-Islam in the camp," the source told Reuters.
The army had estimated that 35 active fighters remained in the camp before Sunday, but it was unclear whether all had tried to flee, the security source told Reuters. There were also a number of wounded Islamistts still inside, he added.
Five soldiers were also killed on Sunday, raising the army death toll to 157. At least 131 gunmen and 42 civilians have been died.
An army statement said the militants made their move in the early hours of the morning. They "attacked army positions in a desperate attempt to flee", the statement said. At least three gunmen from outside the camp had also attacked an army position in a bid to help the fighters escape, security sources said.
Security forces patrolled the area, searching orchards and fields. Naval boats patrolled the sea.
The fighting came after more than three months of clashes between the army and Fatah al-Islam members in Nahr al-Bared camp. "The fighters attempted to escape from Nahr al-Bared but a large number of them were taken prisoner, killed or wounded," another spokesman told Agence France Presse. "Not one of them managed to exit the camp and escape, as far as I know," he added.