1. Lebanese Minister of State Michel Faraoun entering room
2. Cutaway Faraoun
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Michel Faraoun, Lebanese Minister of State:
"The Fatah al Islam organisation which has aggressed the Lebanese Army has been proven to be linked to terrorist acts, and namely the Ain Alak and Bekfaya bus explosions that has taken many civilian lives. It has no direct links to traditional Palestinian organisations, security organisations, inside camps, and is known to be linked to foreign, or outside Lebanon, intelligence units. Lately the Lebanese Army and security forces had surrounded them and tightened up in order to bring some of its members to justice."
4. Cutaway hands
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Michel Faraoun, Lebanese Minister of State:
"The aggression that was perpetrated today is linked to tentative (attempts) to destabilise security and challenge the central government and international community at a time when justice is getting closer in many files - assassination files - that have been taking place in Lebanon the last two years since the assassination of President (Prime Minister) Hariri and also at a time when the Security Council is about to adopt the international tribunal. Of course the Lebanese Army and security forces are facing this situation with determination and resolve."
The Lebanese government on Sunday condemned the gunbattles at the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp and Tripoli in North Lebanon, which erupted earlier on Sunday, killing at least 22 people.
Lebanon's Minister of State stressed that the army would continue its mission to put an end to violence by militants of the Fatah Islam group, which he claimed was also linked to the bus explosions on February 13 in Ain Alak and Bekfayya, east of Beirut.
Michael Faraoun said Fatah Islam did not have links to the traditional security organisations inside Palestinian refugee camps, but was instead "known to be linked to foreign, or outside Lebanon, intelligence units."
The sudden explosion of violence was linked by Faraoun, and by the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, to efforts to create an international tribunal to try the killers of former Premier Rafik Hariri, which Syria opposes.
Faraoun said the violence was an attempt "to destabilise security and challenge the central government and international community."
He said it came "at a time when justice is getting closer in many files - assassination files - that have been taking place in Lebanon the last two years since the assassination of President (Prime Minister) Hariri and also at a time when the Security Council is about to adopt the international tribunal."
The U.N. Security Council is considering a draft resolution to impose the court after Lebanon's government and the pro-Syrian opposition failed to agree on approving it in Beirut.
The anti-Syrian majority coalition says Syria was using its allies in Lebanon to undermine approval of the court.
A U.N. investigation has linked senior Syrian security officials and allies in the Lebanese security services to the murder while Syria controlled Lebanon.
Damascus, which was forced to withdraw its army two months after Hariri's February 2005 assassination in a suicide truck bombing in Beirut, has denied the accusations.
Residents in the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian camp said at least 12 civilians were killed or wounded, but that figure could not be confirmed by Lebanese authorities, who have no presence there.
At least seven Lebanese soldiers were killed outside the refugee camp, the military said, and TV reports indicated at least three militants died in the fighting, which involved tank and grenade fire.
The violence adds one more destabilising factor to conflict-ridden Lebanon, which is in the midst of its worst political crisis between the Western-backed government and pro-Syrian opposition since the end of the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war.
The clash between army troops surrounding the Palestinian refugee camp and fighters from the Fatah Islam militant group began after a gunbattle raged in a neighbourhood of close by Tripoli, witnesses said.
The militant group is an offshoot of the pro-Syrian Fatah Uprising, which broke from the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement in the early 1980s and has headquarters in Syria.
As with many other small factions in Lebanon, Fatah Islam's allegiance is sometimes unclear in this deeply polarised country.
Some Lebanese security officials consider that Fatah Islam is now a radical Sunni Muslim group with ties to al-Qaida, or at least al-Qaida style militancy and doctrine.
But some anti-Syrian government officials say they are a front for Syrian military intelligence aimed at destabilising Lebanon.