Palestinians flee as army cleans out militants
At least 200 Palestinian refugees have been evacuated from the ruins of north Lebanon's Nahr al-bared camp as the army began a final cleanout of Fatah al-Islam militants, according to media reports.
Lebanese and foreign rescuers were quoted as saying that the civilians were evacuated in four batches on Wednesday to other safety locations in buses of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Meanwhile, army gunners hammered Fatah al-Islam militants in their six remaining outposts within the camp, 12 km north of Lebanon's second biggest city Tripoli, said the report.
Before the evacuation started, some 400 people were estimated to be living in the old sector of the camp, compared to the shantytown's original population of 31,000 before the confrontation broke out on May 20.
The Lebanese army have been battling with the militants of Fatah al-Islam holed up in the Nahr al-bared camp since May 20. The bloodiest internal violence since the Lebanese 1975-1990 civil war has killed about 200 people.
The Lebanese government describes Fatah al-Islam as a terrorist network aimed at destabilising Lebanon.