Attrition: Al Qaeda Losses in Lebanon

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October 7, 2007: Four months ago, Lebanese security forces found themselves battling some 500 al Qaeda terrorists in a Palestinian refugee camp (actually a walled town of over 31,000) outside the northern city of Tripoli. The three month battle left over 400 dead (220 terrorists, 168 Lebanese soldiers and police, plus 47 Palestinian civilians). Some 200 terrorists were captured, and a few dozen escaped. Most of the Palestinian civilians were forced to flee the camp.

About two thirds of the dead terrorists were identified, using documents, DNA analysis and families coming forward to seek kin they believe had joined this al Qaeda group. While most of the dead terrorists were Palestinian, a large majority were from other Arab countries (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Tunis and Algeria). About half of the bodies were claimed by families. The rest were buried by the Lebanese government.

The battle was a big deal in Lebanon, where Lebanese have long resented Palestinians bringing violence to the country, and supporting terrorism that has made Lebanese politics more violent. The al Qaeda terrorists are believed to be the pawns of Syria, which claims Lebanon as part of Greater Syria. Syria gave sanctuary to the leaders of this group, as well as Palestinian terrorist groups and various other Sunni Arab groups allied with al Qaeda. Syria has become an assembly area for al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups, a place where recruits know they can come to get some training and then be sent off to countries where Islamic terrorism is being used in an effort to establish religious dictatorships. The only place where this has succeeded is in Iran, which is shameful to al Qaeda, which considers heretical the Shia form of Islam practiced in Iran.

 


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