Beirut : The second in command of an Al Qaeda-inspired militant group in Lebanon was killed in the northern port city of Tripoli, authorities said.
Shehab al-Qaddour, a Lebanese known as Abu Hureira, was killed few days ago by police near the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared, where Fatah al-Islam militants have been fighting Lebanese soldiers since May, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said.
“Lebanese security forces have killed the Fatah al-Islam’s deputy commander in the Abu Samra neighbourhood” in Tripoli, Aridi told reporters following a cabinet meeting Monday night.
The whereabouts of Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker al-Abssi and Abu Hureira had been unknown since fighting at the Nahr el-Bared camp erupted May 20. Absi’s whereabouts still remain unknown.
Though Abu Hureira’s death was only announced Monday, Lebanese police sources said the incident took place five days ago, when two bearded men on a motorcycle opened fire on a police checkpoint in Abu Samra while trying to flee. Police fired back, killing one of the gunmen and wounding the driver.
Police took blood samples from the dead man and samples from Abu Hureira’s parents in the northern Akkar region, the official said.
“DNA tests were carried out which showed the samples matched,” he said, adding that Abu Hureira’s sister also identified him as her brother.
The official stated that it was still unclear when Abu Hureira had fled Nahr el-Bared or how long he had been in Tripoli.
The Nahr el-Bared fighting continues. At least 133 soldiers have been killed, along with an undetermined number of militants and more than 40 civilians.
The army has refused to stop its offensive on the camp until the militants completely surrender, but the gunmen have vowed to fight to the death.