Well, it took a while. But after exactly 15 weeks the Lebanese Army has defeated Al-Qaeda inspired militants in the Nahr al Bared refugee camp (or what is left of it) in northern Lebanon. Fatah al Islam is no longer, the islamists have been crushed. Here is the story and some pictures I took.
I am currently (Sunday afternoon/evening) in the north and I can tell you: It is a total mess here! Literally thausands of civilians are standing, jumping and singing on the roads here in Tripoli, around 10 kms away from the Nahr al Bared camp. It looks like Lebanon has won the world cup soccer. A huge street party.
And Lebanon wouldn't be Lebanon if many civilians didn't run around with their private Kalashnikovs. Sooooo much shooting going on. This time not because of war, but because of celebrations. Man, my ears still hurt from all this firing in the air. That, by the way, doesn't only proof that the mainly Sunni population in Tripoli knows how to throw a party, it also shows that Shi'a Lebanese aren't the only ones owning guns in this country.
Anyhow, it is so completely crowded on the roads here (cars, army checkpoints, jubilant crowd) that I'm kind of stuck in Tripoli. Unfortunately I cant upload some pictures and video's I shot today. So the moment I arrive back in Beirut, hopefully later tonight, I'll post some nice pics and video's on this blog (I'm back in Beirut now. Put pics on this blog, video isn't gonna work - can't get my clips from my mobile phone uploaded to youtube. Some kind of different system...)
The party here will last until late. Soldiers are being hugged by the crowds. Everywhere a sea of Lebanese flags. People here are truly happy - and relieved - that it is all over. 158 deaths on the side of the Lebanese army - that's a lot. That's why Samir, 23, told me just now: "Fatah al Islam? - well fuck these guys. We won and we are very, very happy."
According to the Lebanese Army: Fatah al Islam leader Shaker al-Abssi was killed on Sunday. I'll try to visit Tripoli's morgue tomorrow to see it for myself.