A new confidential report contains the first figures for al Qaeda terrorists fighting for two months with other pro-Damascus foreign forces against Lebanese soldiers near Tripoli in the North. The data was compiled by chief of Lebanese internal security services Col. Assad Qifi. It indicates that al Qaeda has transferred about 15% of its total fighting force in Iraq to Lebanon. As the official most trusted by prime minister Fouad Siniora and the head of the anti-Syrian parliamentary bloc Saad Hariri, Col. Qifi is in charge of the clandestine Lebanese war on Syria’s proxy campaign against the pro-Western government in Beirut.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror sources report that the battle continues to teeter back and forth with neither side anywhere near prevailing.
Our sources highlight the six main ports of Col. Qifi’s confidential report:
1. Al Qaeda has stepped up the increment of Saudi fighters from Iraq into northern Lebanon via Syria in an effort to tilt the balance in favor of the pro-Syrian Palestinian radicals holding out in the Nahr al-Bared camp with the radical Fatah al-Islam.
2. Syrian military intelligence is expediting the transfer.
3. Lebanese intelligence services have positively identified 40 Saudi suicide fighters from outside the country.
4. Because Fatah al Islam does not send the bodies of the dead out of the embattled camp, the Lebanese authorities can only estimate that among the 100 dead are between 20 and 25 Saudis. (The Lebanese army has lost 105 men since the fighting began.)
5. Al Qaeda clearly rates the North Lebanese battle highly as a strategic step onto Lebanese soil and the Mediterranean coast.
6. The continuing flow of al Qaeda Saudi fighters from Iraq threatens to stretch their Iraqi battlefront against US forces into Lebanon.
The US military command in Iraq reported that al Qaeda suicide fighters have fled the western Iraqi province of Anbar to Pakistan under the pressure of US offensives backed up by Sunni Arab tribes joining the campaign. In fact, the Lebanese colonel’s confidential report shows that al Qaeda has redeployed a large segment of its Iraqi force to Lebanon via Syria.