Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Religion of Peace

New York Times May 20

"What began as a raid on several homes in Tripoli early today in pursuit of suspected bank robbers tied to the militant group Fatah al-Islam quickly escalated into an open confrontation with members of the group, which has claimed loyalty to Al Qaeda’s principles, at their stronghold in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Tripoli.

Three soldiers and four militants were killed in that fight, officials said.

Hours later, militants tied to the group attacked an army patrol in the Koura region of northern Lebanon, Lebanese officials said, killing four other soldiers.

The Lebanese Army said this afternoon that Fatah al-Islam had also attacked army posts around the refugee camp as well as in northern Tripoli.

The fighting continued this afternoon as the Lebanese Army called in reinforcements, including tanks and heavy armor, and began shelling parts of the camp where the militants were believed to be hiding. Gunfire continued well into the afternoon, as Palestinians inside the camp called for a cease-fire in order to evacuate civilians from the area. It was not immediately clear whether any civilians inside the camp had been injured in the fighting.

Under an agreement with the Palestinian leadership, the Lebanese Army is not allowed to enter Palestinian refugee camps.

Last month Lebanese authorities arrested four members of Fatah al-Islam charging them with a bombing of two commuter buses carrying Lebanese Christians in February."

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