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PLO Takes Over Refugee Camp After Heavy Fighting

September 10, 1990|From Associated Press

SIDON, Lebanon — Yasser Arafat's guerrillas controlled the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon today after crushing followers of the notorious terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal in three days of savage combat.

Police said at least 80 people have been killed and 250 wounded since Friday, when Arafat's mainstream guerrillas cracked down on the Revolutionary Council of Fatah in the Ein el Hilweh shantytown.

The fighting reached its peak Sunday when the Palestine Liberation Organization fighters fought hand to hand to root out the last of Abu Nidal's followers hiding in a tunnel network under the camp.

The guns fell silent after the 12-hour battle on the southeastern flank of the port city of Sidon, 25 miles south of Beirut.

Arafat's political representative here, Zeid Wehbe, said today that Abu Nidal followers who sought refugee in Sidon should be removed because "their presence in the city is an explosive destabilization factor."

In a press conference at his Ein el Hilweh residence, Wehbe accused Abu Nidal's men of triggering Friday's fighting by kidnaping five Fatah activists.

Other PLO officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said dozens of Abu Nidal's dissidents were being sheltered by Sunni Muslim fundamentalist leaders in Sidon.

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