Beirut - Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman said Saturday in a rare statement that the showdown against Fatah al-Islam militants reached its final stages.
Suleiman said that the much-awaited final assault against the remaining members of the terrorist group in the Nahr al-Bared Plestinian refugee camp was "imminent".
Meanwhile, Lebanese troops stormed a tiny enclave held by Fatah al-Islam terrorists in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared Saturday, killing at least eight militants.
The state-run NNA said eight militants were killed in a sudden attack carried out by commando units of the Lebanese army against the Amqa sector, which is a junction commanding both flanks of the terrorists' enclave in the demolished camp.
The army also moved armored vehicles and 106-mm jeep-mounted recoilless cannons into the camp in an apparent effort to demolish fortified bunkers and tunnels used by the terrorists in their fight which broke out May 20.
Army shelling of Fatah a-Islam outposts registered the intensity of three shells per minute, field reporters said.
The general impression among field reporters covering the confrontation is that the army would achieve its total victory on Fatah al-Islam quite soon.
The camp's population, estimated at 31.000 people before outbreak of the fighting, has evacuated to safety during lulls leaving behind the terrorists' families, estimated at around 70 women and children.
The army command, in a communiqué, renewed its repeated calls on the terrorists to allow their families to leave and refrain from using them as human shields.
The communiqué noted that the army's casualties have been relatively high in the Nahr al-Bared battle mainly because the regular force was keen on pacifying civilians.
The confrontation started when Fatah al-Islam terrorists killed 27 soldiers in unprovoked ambushes across north Lebanon more than two months ago.
Source: AP, Naharnet
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