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Middle East
Army advances into Nahr al-Bared
Blast hits Unifil vehicle near Tyre as fighting continues at Palestinian camp.
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2007 00:16 GMT
Nahr al-Bared is little more than a wreck after two months of fighting [AFP]
The Lebanese army has continued its advance deeper into the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country amid heavy fighting.
 
Elsewhere on Monday, a roadside blast damaged a Unifil vehicle near the southern city of Tyre.
Troops battling fighters from the Fatah al-Islam group moved into Nahr al-Bared camp in north Lebanon on Sunday for the first time since fighting there erupted on May 20.
The army is aiming to end the months old siege but lost its 100th soldier while doing so and another two were killed overnight, security sources said.
 
At least 81 Fatah al-Islam fighters and 40 civilians have also been killed in the worst internal violence since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

Fierce fighting

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A series of reports on the Middle East one year after the war in Lebanon

The advance marked a major step for the army in the battle to crush fatah al-Islam and a rare incursion by troops into a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

A 1969 Arab agreement banned Lebanese security forces from entering Palestinian camps.

The agreement was annulled by the Lebanese parliament in the mid-1980s but the accord effectively stayed in place.

Commandos exchanged automatic rifle fire and grenades with fighters at buildings and alleyways leading to the centre of Nahr al-Bared while army artillery and tanks pounded other areas.

The vast majority of Nahr al-Bared's 40,000 refugees had fled in the early days of the fighting which has left the camp in ruins.

Unifil attack

The Unifil vehicle damaged near Tyre was hit by an explosion near the Qasimiya bridge over the Litani river.

"We can confirm an explosion in the area of Qasmiyeh bridge which slightly damaged a Unifil vehicle of the Tanzanian battalion," spokeswoman Yasmeena Bouziane said.

The blast came less than a month after a car bombing cost the lives of three Spanish and three Colombian members of Unifil on June 24.

Source:
Agencies
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