Lebanese army toll rises

Five soldiers succumb to injuries as civilians are evacuated from Nahr al-Bared camp.

    Two Palestinian bodies were removed from
    Nahr al-Bared refugee camp on Sunday [AFP]

    "Six were killed on Saturday, while five more died from their wounds on Sunday."

     

    Toll

     

    At least 123 people have died since violence broke out in and around the camp on May 20.

     

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    Civilian deaths have been difficult to ascertain reliably due to difficulties in accessing the camp.

     

    The army has now lost 57 soldiers in its conflict with the al-Qaeda-inspired group, a military source said.

     

    About 50 members of Fatah al-Islam are believed to have been killed.

     

    Shahine Shahine, a spokesman for Fatah al-Islam, said four of their fighters had been killed and six wounded while repelling the Lebanese army advance.

     

    Evacuation

     

    Two Palestinian civilians, whose bodies were evacuated by the Red Crescent on Sunday, also died in the previous day's shelling of the camp, rescue workers said.

     

    About 75 civilians were evacuated from
    Nahr al-Bared on Sunday [AFP]

    Most of the camp's 40,000 civilian population have fled the camp to escape the siege.

     

    However, humanitarian organisations say that some elderly, sick and disabled civilians have not been able to leave their homes, putting them at grave risk. 

     

    During Sunday's relative calm, the Lebanese Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent Society evacuated about 75 civilians from Nahr el-Bared.

     

    The civilians were taken to the nearby Badawi refugee camp, a Lebanese Red Cross official said.

     

    Persuasion

     

    The Islamic Action Front, a Lebanese organisation grouping Sunni Muslim politicians and clerics, has been trying to persuade Fatah al-Islam fighters to surrender.

     

    But Fathi Yakan, the leader of the front, said his mediators had been unable to speak to Shaker al-Abssi, the leader of Fatah al-Islam.

     

    He said: "I do not think those speaking in the name of the group are able to give a decision. The fate of [Abssi] is not known."

     

    Abu Salim Taha, a Fatah al-Islam spokesman, said late on Saturday that Abssi, a Palestinian, was still alive.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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