The US State Department defended on Monday the actions of the Lebanese security forces, declaring they are working in a "legitimate manner" against "provocations by violent extremists" operating out of a Palestinian refugee camp.
"This is a group that has been involved in violence to achieve whatever their stated objective may be," spokesman Sean McCormack said.
The Fatah Islam group has suspected al-Qaida ties but McCormack declined to discuss outside connections that the organization may have.
Asked specifically about a possible Syrian link, McCormack said, "At this point I wouldn't draw that connection." He also declined to draw a parallel between the outbreak of violence and movement at the United Nations toward the establishment of a tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut.