Shelling resumes at Lebanon camp

Military experts says the Lebanese army may carry out a ground offensive into the camp.

    Dozens of Lebanese army tanks surround Nahr al-Bared camp for a possible military operation [AFP] 

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    In a show of support by the PLO, he said that what was impacting on the Palestinians was impacting on the Lebanese people, and that the PLO was prepared to do all it can to end the violence.
     
    Human shields
     
    The Lebanese army said that Fatah al-Islam fighters are thought to be stopping refugees from leaving the camp and using them as human shields, Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr said.
     
    Khodr also said that Gahzi al-Aridi, the minister of information, had said that it was up to Lebanon's army to decide whether it might storm the camp later in the day.
     

    Camp incursion

     

    Meanwhile, Elias Hanna, a Lebanese military expert, told Al Jazeera, that it was still unclear whether the Lebanese army would conduct a limited or full military incursion inside the camp.

     

    He said that the army would have to assess the objectives of this operation.

     

    "The area within the camp is small, like matchboxes, and it would not be easy to manoeuvre heavy vehicles," Hanna said.

     

    He also said that Lebanese special forces have the necessary expertise, but lack "situational awareness" as they have not been inside the camp before.

     

    The Lebanese army has been massing around the camp but has not entered it as part of a 1969 agreement that prevents the army from entering Lebanon's 12 Palestinian camps.
     

    Lebanon's government stands firm in its position that it wants Fatah al-Islam to surrender, while the fighters refuse to give themselves up, Khodr said.

     

    Worst fighting

     

    Smoke billowed from breeze-block buildings inside the camp, Al Jazeera television footage showed.

     

    The conflict is Lebanon's worst internal fighting since the 1975-1990 civil war.

     

    So far it has killed at least 83 people, including 34 soldiers, 29 Fatah al-Islam fighters and 20 civilians.

     

    A Lebanese soldier was killed and three others wounded in clashes on Thursday.

       

    Abbas Zaki, right, 

    has urged Fatah al-Islam
    fighters to surrender [

    EPA]


    The government is demanding that the men surrender, and the authorities have already charged 20 captured members of the group with "terrorism". The charges carry the death penalty.

     

    Negotiations

     

    Lebanon's government has given Palestinian leaders in Lebanon a chance to find a way out of the two-week stand-off because it fears the fighting could spread to other refugee camps.

      

    Zaki urged the fighters to surrender in an effort to end the fighting.

       

    More than 25,000 of the Nahr al-Bared's 40,000 Palestinians have fled to the nearby Beddawi camp, where humanitarian organisations have been carrying out relief work.

       

    Members of Lebanon's anti-Syrian cabinet have described Fatah al-Islam of being a tool of Syrian intelligence, though Damascus denies denies this and says its leader, Shaker al-Abssi, is on Syria's wanted list.

       

    Al-Abssi has said he follows al-Qaeda's ideology, but has no direct links to Osama bin Laden's network. Many of his estimated 300 gunmen are believed to have fought in Iraq.

       

    The Lebanese authorities say Fatah al-Islam includes Arabs from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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