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Palestinians flee beseiged refugee camp in Lebanon

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Palestinians flee beseiged refugee camp in Lebanon

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Thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared camp have made their way to neighbouring camps after days of heavy fighting between the Lebanese army and militants. The Fatah al-Islam militants, said to be inspired by al-Qaeda, are reported to have little support among Palestinians. But army shelling has provoked anger.

One woman in the camp said: “Traitors! Traitors! Have mercy! This is unbelievable! They’re (targeting) a whole people and children! What is this?” Lebanese troops have been battling Fatah al-Islam since Sunday. At least 22 militants, 32 soldiers and 27 civilians are reported to have been killed.

The clashes eased yesterday afternoon following an informal truce, allowing aid workers to get in with urgent supplies. They say some residents have decided not to leave the camp, which is home to an estimated 30,000 Palestinians. The Lebanese army is normally not allowed into a total of 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, under a 1969 agreement drawn up by the Arab League.