Lebanon's Army Finishes Off Fatah al-Islam, Kills Abssi
Retrieved from Naharnet on September 2, 2007
Picture retrieved from annaharonline on September 5, 2007
The Lebanese Army has finished off the Fatah al-Islam legend, killed its leader Shaker al-Abssi and 31 other terrorists and rounded up 20 in the 106th day of the confrontation at the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.
Security agencies have launched a nationwide manhunt for 10 terrorists who escaped the battle Sunday by infiltrating through the al-Bared River stream.
Judicial sources told Naharnet a Palestinian cleric, who had mediated with Fatah al-Islam terrorists, identified al-Abssi's body.
However, the judiciary issued a warrant to bring in al-Abssi's wife and daughter to the public hospital in Tripoli to identify the body and, to conduct DNA tests that would provide the definite answer to questions related to identity of the alleged Abssi corpse, the sources explained.
Al-Abssi's wife and daughter have been living in the southern refugee camp of Ain al-hilweh, near the city of Sidon, since Families of Fatah al-Islam terrorists were evacuated from Nahr al-Bared in Mid August.
Shortly after the victory was announced Sunday evening, Jubilant citizens took to the streets to salute their troops for what Premier Fouad Saniora termed "an hour of pride, victory and jubilation."
Saniora, in a televised message to the Lebanese screened late Sunday, praised the army's "sacrifices" and stressed that "we are determined to enable the state and its legal forces to be the protector … of the people's security."
Saniora said the army's victory against terrorists was equal to the "heroic acts" registered by "resistance fighters" against Israel in south Lebanon.
He was referring to the 34-day war between Hizbullah and Israel in the summer of 2006 Saniora said his majority government is determined to spread its authority and that of its "regular forces throughout Lebanese territory."
Troops throughout the day Sunday combed fields around the camp and raided nearby homes while search operations focused on nearby villages where some militants were killed or captured.
The army said Nahr al-Bared remains off limits to civilians pending further notice.
The army issued a statement appealing to residents of nearby villages to help in the search for militants who may be on the run.
In their pre-dawn breakout attempt the militants also had help from outside, a security source said.
"A Mercedes car pulled up at an army checkpoint on the eastern edge of the camp and began firing at soldiers as fighters launched an attack from inside," said the source.
Militants attacked another checkpoint at the same time.
The source said three people in the Mercedes were killed. The white vehicle, windows shattered and tires flat, was seen being towed away in mid-morning.
Fatah al-Islam terrorists broke out of their besieged enclave in three separate groups, two of the groups were finished off and the fighters were either killed or rounded up.
The third group, comprising 10 fighters, managed to infiltrate across ther river stream and a manhunt has been launched for them, security sources said.(Naharnet)