Published: 08/15/10, 5:48 PM / Last Update: 08/15/10, 7:04 PM
by Maayana Miskin
Top terrorist Abed al-Rahman Awad was killed Saturday in Lebanon, Lebanese military officials announced Sunday. Awad and his bodyguard were fatally hit in a shootout with Lebanese troops.
Awad headed the Fatah al-Islam terrorist group, which has a foothold in the Lebanese refugee camps set up for the descendents of Arabs who fled Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. The group is a Sunni Muslim organization similar to Al-Qaeda in philosophy.
Lebanese media outlets reported that Lebanon and Syria worked together to plan the ambush on Awad, who was allegedly attempting to escape to Syria when he was killed. Previous Fatah al-Islam head Shaker al-Abassi was killed in Syria after fleeing Lebanon.
Officials praised the Lebanese troops who killed Awad, saying his death was “a positive step” in eradicating Fatah al-Islam.
Leading members of Fatah in Lebanon, a group affiliated with the Fatah party controlling the Palestinian Authority and not with Fatah al-Islam, said they would work within refugee camps to thwart any retaliatory attacks on the Lebanese army.
Fatah al-Islam was founded in 2006, after breaking away from terrorist group Fatah al-Intifada. It made headlines worldwide in 2007 when members launched a major battle against the Lebanese army in the UNRWA refugee camp Nahr al-Bard.
Some American commentators have suggested that Fatah al-Islam is bankrolled by Western sources or pro-Western Lebanese parties hoping the group would fight Shiite Muslim terrorist group Hizbullah. However, many Lebanese commentators believe the group is supported by Syrian elements seeking to destabilize Lebanon.