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Clashes kill 11 people

Eleven people have been killed in the clashes between the Lebanese army and members of the Muslim militant group Fatah al-Islam.

world Updated: Jun 24, 2007 17:19 IST

Eleven people were killed in the clashes between the Lebanese army and members of the Muslim militant group Fatah al-Islam in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanese security sources said Sunday.

Seven militants were killed, along with two civilians, a soldier and a policeman in a clash that erupted after the army raided the apartment of Muslim militants believed to be Fatah al-Islam members late on Saturday, the sources said.

"There are seven bodies of the Islamist militants inside the apartment building," a Lebanese officer at the scene said. The bodies may be booby trapped, he said.

The officer said that among the dead were nationals from Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The clash was followed militants opening fire on an army jeep inside the Abu Samra area inside Tripoli, killing one soldier. The Abu Samra area is mainly inhabited by Sunni Muslims.

This was the first battle with Muslim extremists in Tripoli between security forces and militants since fighting broke out in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp where the militants are holed up.

According to an eyewitness the Lebanese army arrested three Islamists after the fighting in the city while a fourth escaped.

Two of the arrested were Lebanese carrying a Danish and Australian passport.

Meanwhile, in Nahr al-Bared, six Lebanese soldiers were wounded on Sunday in fighting with militants still hiding in the camp.

The violence in northern Lebanon since May 20 has resulted in the killing of at least 80 soldiers in what is being described as the deadliest internal violence to hit Lebanon since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

A total of more than 150, including at least 60 militants have died in the violence.

Four soldiers were killed on Saturday by sniper fire and a booby trap blast a Fatah al-Islam booby trap on the 35th day of the siege, the army said.

First Published: Jun 24, 2007 17:10 IST