TRIPOLI, Lebanon – Artillery and machine gun fire echoed around a crowded Palestinian refugee camp Tuesday as fighting resumed between besieging Lebanese troops and Islamic militants holed up inside, ending a nighttime lull.
Lebanese troops pounded with artillery at daybreak the suspected positions of the Fatah Islam militants, seeking to destroy the group with al-Qaida ties or force them out of the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of this northern port city, Lebanon’s second largest. A plume of black smoke billowed from an unknown target in the camp.
The army brought in reinforcements from other regions. Two trucks towing field artillery were seen heading toward Tripoli on the coastal highway late Monday.
The renewed fighting ended an overnight lull amid efforts for an informal cease-fire between the two sides. It was not known what sparked the exchanges.
Palestinian factions attempted to broker a cease-fire. The representative of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, Abu Ahmed Rifai, said Fatah Islam militants pledged to cease firing and withdraw from positions facing Lebanese troops. A senior officer at Lebanese army command would not say a cease-fire was reached but repeated the military’s stance that it will not shoot if it does not come under fire.