For now the heavy shelling has stopped. A truce remains in place. But high tension surrounds a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, the scene of fierce clashes between the country’s army and al Qaeda-inspired militants. As Lebanese troops take up new positions, Islamist fighters are still holed-up inside.
Amid the stalemate, sporadic exhanges of gunfire have been reported today. Humanitarian relief however is starting to arrive, bringing essential supplies to civilians caught up in the crossfire. Thousands of people have fled the camp. Thousands more remain.
The Lebanese Prime Minister has vowed to stamp out the Fatah al-Islam militant group. “We will not surrender to terrorism,” Fouad Siniora said in a televised speech to the nation. “We will work on uprooting terrorism and finishing it off.” France’s new Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has travelled to Beirut to meet Siniora and express French solidarity with Lebanon. The clashes have claimed the lives of over 50 soldiers and militants. The number of civilian deaths is not known.