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Posted by D from ( on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:52PM :

An uneasy calm returned to the Ain Al Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon after factional fighting the previous day left eight people dead and 25 wounded.

Members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, six of whom were killed in Monday's clashes, signed a cease-fire deal with groups Osbat Al Nour and Osbat Al Ansar, which appear on the US terrorist organization list, the source said.

Tensions have been high at the camp since last summer when Fatah began cracking down on Islamists and Muslim radicals attacked Fatah's camp headquarters in August 2002, killing a Fatah member.

The country's 12 Palestinian camps are not controlled by the Lebanese army and host an array of armed groups.

The rival groups' overnight agreement was reached after mediation by Lebanese Sheikh Maher Hammoud, who negotiated the withdrawal of the warring militias to either side of the camp, which is home to 65,000 people.

The deadly fighting, with automatic weapons and anti-tank rockets, erupted on Monday at the camp, 43 kilometers (25 miles) south of Beirut. Several hundred terrified refugees fled the camp during the fighting.

Osbat Al Nour leader Abdullah Shraidi was shot and seriously wounded by Fatah gunmen in the squalid camp on May 17, and Monday's violence began as a revenge attack.


-- D
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