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At Least 3 Killed in Lebanese-Palestinian Clash - 2002-09-04

At least three people, two Palestinians and a Lebanese soldier were killed and more than a dozen wounded after the Lebanese Army stormed a Palestinian refugee camp in eastern Lebanon.

Lebanese Army troops entered the Al-Jalil refugee camp early in the day and raided the offices of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

Fighting broke out after Palestinian fighters belonging to a wide array of guerrilla groups tried to block the army.

Witnesses say at least 14 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes.

Lebanese security sources say the soldiers removed a cache of machine guns and grenades, as well as documents from the offices of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, a group founded by Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, who died in Iraq last month.

Mr. Nidal's group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

There are 13 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, housing an estimated 350,000 Palestinians. Ever since Lebanon's civil war ended in 1990, the government has been waging an on-again off-again campaign to wrest control of the camps from the Palestinians. Al-Jalil is the smallest of the camps in Lebanon.

The army assault on Al-Jalil follows Israeli newspaper charges that al-Qaida forces had infiltrated another refugee camp, Ain al Hilweh, outside Sidon.

The Lebanese government has been frustrated for months with a small band of Palestinian extremists reported to be hiding inside Ain al Hilweh.