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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
New US military aid for Lebanon
A US aircraft unloads military aid at Beirut airport, 26 May 2007
US planes have been bringing in military supplies
US military planes have delivered more equipment to the Lebanese army, as its stand-off with Islamic militants at a Palestinian refugee camp continued.

Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora again called on Sunni militants inside the camp to surrender or face army action.

He was speaking after the leader of Shia militant group Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said Lebanon should not be part of a US war on al-Qaeda.

The confrontation at the Nahr al-Bared camp is now in its seventh day.

Mr Siniora would not say whether a decision had been taken for the army to go into the camp, but plane-loads of American military supplies continue to arrive, apparently in preparation for just such a battle, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Beirut.

"We want to end this situation," Mr Siniora told the BBC's Arabic service.


"Either they surrender themselves to Lebanese justice... or else the Lebanese authorities will be forced to take the decision to let the army deal with this matter."

Mr Siniora strongly criticised remarks by Sheikh Nasrallah, who on Friday warned that if the army stormed the camp it could spark a new cycle of violence in Lebanon.

Sheikh Nasrallah said the conflict could be solved politically and should not escalate, adding the Lebanese should not allow themselves to become entangled with al-Qaeda on behalf of the US.

The prime minister said Mr Nasrallah's comments were tantamount to support for the militants.

"In short, it's almost... as if that amounts to justifying the [Islamic militant] Fatah al-Islam movement. Islam itself is innocent of that. And the Palestinian cause is also innocent of that," he said.

Trapped refugees

Clashes between the Sunni militants, alleged to have links to al-Qaeda, and the Lebanese army have left dozens dead.

Split from Palestinian group Fatah al-Intifada in late 2006
Believed to have 150-200 armed men, based in Nahr al-Bared camp
Denies al-Qaeda links but says it endorses its ideas
Has links with Syrian intelligence, Lebanon says
Leader is Shaker al-Abssi

Thousands of people have fled the refugee camp, near Tripoli, as aid workers struggle to deliver food and medicine to thousands still inside.

Several truck-loads of aid were delivered on Saturday and a few Palestinians brought out by ambulance, our correspondent adds.

At least 50 soldiers and militants have been killed in the fighting at the camp so far. The civilian death toll is not known.

The fighting at the camp is the bloodiest internal conflict in Lebanon since the civil war ended 17 years ago.

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21 May 07 |  Middle East

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