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Lebanese Army Intensifies Bombardment of Refugee Camp


Security officials in Lebanon say the army has intensified its bombardment of a Palestinian refugee camp where Islamic militants are holed up.

Officials say the army fired a heavy barrage of artillery and tank shells Wednesday at suspected Fatah al-Islam militant positions inside the Nahr al-Bared camp.

Militants responded by firing at least 12 Katyusha rockets from the small remaining area that they control.

The bombardment is described as the heaviest in the nine-week standoff at the camp, located near the port city of Tripoli. It follows days of low intensity fighting during which army troops tried to push deeper into the camp to force the militants to surrender.

More than 200 people have been killed since fighting between Lebanon's army and the militants erupted on May 20.

The dead include at least 118 soldiers and 60 militants, as well as civilians.

Most of the camp's residents have been evacuated.

Two Lebanese soldiers were killed at Nahr al-Bared on Tuesday.

The conflict at the camp is the worst internal violence in Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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