Fierce fighting erupted Monday at a besieged Palestinian refugee camp as Lebanese forces resumed bombardment of al-Qaeda-inspired militants barricaded inside. Three Lebanese troops died, a senior military official said, according to the AP.
Troops, backed by heavy artillery and tank fire, blasted suspected hideouts of the Fatah Islam inside the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the northern port city of Tripoli, as the battle against the militants entered its fifth week, witnesses said. The senior military official said an undetermined number of soldiers were wounded.
Fatah al-Islam men are reported now cornered in what is known as the "old camp," a small segment at the southern tip of Nahr al-Bared. The Lebanese army said it has advanced further into Nahr al-Bared since Friday and driven the militants into the "old camp."
On Monday, an army officer confirmed the army had blown up two major militant positions inside the camp the day before. Fatah al-Islam had used the buildings as firing points to target Lebanese troops besieging Nahr al-Bared since fighting erupted there on May 20. Lebanese flags flew over the two buildings on Monday.
In all, the fighting has claimed more than 150 lives - 72 soldiers, at least 60 Fatah Islam militants and more than 20 civilians - since its outbreak on May 20.