Lebanese troops bombard Islamic militants in camp

June 20, 2007 17:20


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Lebanese troops resumed bombardment of Islamic militants holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Wednesday, as mediators met senior military officials to discuss a possible cease-fire deal that would include a disarmament of the al-Qaida-inspired fighters. The army unleashed artillery and tank barrages at suspected hideouts of Fatah Islam militants barricaded inside the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the port city of Tripoli. Plumes of black and white smoke were seen rising from inside the camp. Occasionally, heavy machinegun fire also rang out of the camp, which has for one month now been the scene of fierce fighting between Lebanese troops and Fatah Islam militants. The military is striving to crush the militants' remaining strongholds in the camp, even as Palestinian mediators held talks Wednesday with Lebanon's military intelligence chief Brig. George Khoury. There were no immediate details of the meeting held at the Defense Ministry in Yarze near Beirut. A Palestinian Muslim cleric who has been acting as mediator, Sheik Mohammed Haj, said after meeting Khoury that he hoped for "a positive response" to the cease-fire proposal.

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