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Fighting Continues at Northern Lebanon Refugee Camp


Lebanese authorities say fighting has resumed between government troops and Islamists entrenched in a Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli.

Smoke could be seen billowing Saturday in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, as soldiers shelled Fatah al-Islam positions.

On Friday, three Lebanese troops and an unknown number of Islamic militants were killed in the fighting.

An army statement Friday demanded that the militants surrender, and urged Palestinians not to give militants safe haven. The army accused the Islamists of using civilians as human shields.

A VOA correspondent outside the camp, Margaret Besheer, said heavy artillery fire rang out for several hours with little pause. The two sides also exchanged machine gun fire.

At least 83 people have died in nearly two weeks of clashes at the camp.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees have fled the camp, but thousands more remain inside.

The Lebanese government this week charged 20 Fatah al-Islam militants with being terrorists.

Lebanese judicial sources say all of those charged are in custody, and that all could face the death penalty if convicted. At least one of the militants charged is a Syrian.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP

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