Beirut – Shaker Youssef Al-Absi , the fugitive leader of the Fatah al-Islam militants was killed today as he was trying to flee the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon.
This information was confirmed by a hospital in Tripoli and by Lebanese army sources.
According to army sources, Al-Absi was killed in the morning and his body was found near the eastern section of the camp. The army brought in some Fatah al Islam detainees to view the body and they all confirmed that it was that of Al- Absi. Later in the day, the army performed DNA tests which provided the final proof of his death.
There were many conflicting reports today about the whereabouts of Al-Absi. Late afternoon it was reported that that the army has captured Al-Absi. Early afternoon it was reported that he was able to escape.
Similarly it was reported earlier that Abu Salim Taha, the spokesman of Fatah al Islam has surrendered, but the latest report confirmed that he died today after he was fatally wounded while he was trying to escape.
The army victory today brings to an end the Fatah al-Islam organization, and the life of of its leader Shaker Youssef Al-Absi.
Background Information on Al-Absi
Al-Absi is high on Jordan’s most-wanted terror list. A military court sentenced him to death in absentia in July 2004, along with al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for their roles in the 2002 slaying of a U.S. diplomat in Amman.
Al-Zarqawi died in a U.S. airstrike a year ago.
Jordanian prosecutors say al-Absi, who is also known as Abu Youssef, sent money raised by al-Zarqawi through intermediaries to the Jordanian cell that killed the American diplomat, Laurence Foley. Al-Absi also arranged to train militants in Syria on weapons and explosives, according to Jordanian military court documents.
Al-Absi was also implicated in other planned terror plots in Jordan. Six months ago, Jordanian police engaged in a gun battle with two militants in the northern city of Irbid, killing one and arresting another. The arrested militant later confessed that al-Absi had sent the pair to carry out terror attacks in Jordan.
Unlike traditional Palestinian militants like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, al-Absi has for years been interwoven with the al-Qaida-linked militant underground, reportedly visiting Iraq and Afghanistan and associating with al-Zarqawi, one of al-Qaida’s most brutal leaders.
Al-Absi is wanted in three Mideast countries – Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
He reportedly came to Lebanon last year from Syria, where he spent a number of years, some of them in prison. In the Nahr el-Bared camp – safe from Lebanese authorities who cannot enter Palestinian refugee camps under a 40-year-old agreement – he slowly built up his organization.