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Palestinian Refugees Dodge Bullets, Flee Refugee Camp in Northern Lebanon

  • VOA News

Palestinians dodged sniper fire as they fled a refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Saturday.

The refugees took advantage of a relative lull in fighting between Fatah al-Islam militants and Lebanese soldiers at the Nahr el-Bared camp. Most headed into Tripoli or Beddawi, another nearby refugee camp.

A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross Virginia De La Guardia said the agency is very worried about the 20-thousand Palestinians still living in Nahr el-Bared.

Aid workers and refugees say the condition of the camp is deteriorating.

Clashes at the Nahr al-Bared camp, on the outskirts of Tripoli, have killed at least 75 people since Sunday.

Also on Saturday, officials in Lebanon said three US Air Force transport planes carrying military aid arrived in Beirut.

The cargo is part of an international airlift by the US and other countries to help Lebanon's army fight Islamic militants.

A group claiming to be al-Qaida's local representatives ,al-Qaida in the Levant has threatened a new wave of attacks if Lebanese troops do not stop their operations in the camp against militants from the group Fatah al-Islam.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has vowed to crush the militants, but a truce has largely held since Tuesday.

The recent fighting is said to be the worst internal battle since Lebanon's 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

The United States gave Lebanon 40 million dollars in military aid last year. The Bush administration has asked Congress to approve additional shipments this year worth 280 million dollars.
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