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U.N. Convoy Delivers Supplies to Besieged Palestinian Camp

June 09, 1985|United Press International

BEIRUT — Rival Lebanese militias traded machine-gun fire Saturday in Tripoli, killing at least 10 people, and a U.N. convoy delivered badly needed food, water and medicine to a besieged Palestinian refugee camp near Beirut.

Pro-Syrian and pro-Palestinian gunmen pounded each other with heavy machine-gun fire and rocket launchers on the third day of fierce clashes in the northern port city of Tripoli. Police said at least 10 people were killed and 12 wounded.

In Beirut, hundreds of heavily armed militiamen moved into the streets to check a wave of hit-and-run attacks against Shia Muslim targets by suspected Palestinian gunmen.

Hours earlier, the first successful mission to reach the besieged Borj el Brajne refugee camp since fighting between Palestinian and Shia Muslim forces broke out May 19 was carried out despite threats against U.N. officials by the Shias.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees organized the seven-truck convoy that pushed into the sprawling camp of 20,000 residents with tons of bread, water and medical and food parcels supplied by an Austrian relief organization.

"It's under siege, so there is a lot of difficulty in removing the dead," said Robert Gallagher, the U.N. agency's director.

"There are 271 wounded and sick people in the Haifa Hospital inside Borj el Brajne," Gallagher said. "But some of those people are suffering from normal illnesses, although there are also 16 very seriously hurt."

Police sources said at least 525 people have been killed and 2,259 wounded since gunmen of Amal, the Shia militia, attacked three Palestinian refugee camps south of Beirut. Sabra was overrun last week, while a few pockets of resistance remained in neighboring Chatilla.

The third attempt to reach Borj el Brajne was coordinated with Amal and the Lebanese army's largely Shia 6th Brigade, which fought sporadically with Palestinian fighters for a 20th day Saturday.

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