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Lebanese official: Militants defeated

Lebanese official: Militants defeated

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BEIRUT, Lebanon - Defense Minister Elias Murr on Thursday declared victory over the Fatah Islam militant group after a month-long military assault on its stronghold in a northern refugee camp.

"The army is combing the area. This terrorist organization has been uprooted," Murr said.

A Muslim cleric who has been acting as a mediator said later that Fatah Islam had agreed to stop firing and that calm had descended over the Nahr el-Bared camp outside the port of Tripoli.

The battle, Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-'90 civil war, killed 76 soldiers, at least 60 militants and more than 20 civilians.

It came amid a fierce political power struggle between the Western-backed government and an opposition led by the militant Hezbollah.

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