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Lebanese army kills 15 militants, captures 15 more in Nahr el-Bared
09/02/2007
Lebanese troops fought al-Qaida-inspired militants who attempted to flee a besieged Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Sunday, killing 15 and capturing 15 others, officials said. In a statement, the military said troops were attacking the remaining strongholds of the Fatah Islam fighters in Nahr el-Bared camp and "chasing the fugitives outside the camp" who had staged "a desperate attempt to flee." It called on Lebanese citizens to inform the nearest army patrol of any suspected militants in their area, but gave no specifics on casualties excepting saying "a large number" had been killed or captured. Lebanese security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no official casualty figures had been released by the military, said 15 militants were killed and 15 captured, all of whom were wounded. They also said two Lebanese soldiers were killed in the fighting, raising to 155 the total number who have died in the conflict. Before Sunday's battle, Lebanese officials had said up to 70 Fatah Islam fighters remained in the camp. When the fighting broke out more than three months ago, the number was estimated at 360.
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