However, Khodr said that any evacuation had been delayed because the Palestinian clerics attempting to broker a deal between the army and Fatah al-Islam had lost contact with the group's representatives.
 
Noose tightening
 
"The army have been shelling the camp since the early hours of the morning.
 
"It is tightening its noose around the camp ... there are some reports that food and water are running out," she reported.
 
Earlier, Mohammed Hajj, a spokesman for the clerics, said that a member of Fatah al-Islam had approached him overnight to arrange a ceasefire.

"Abu Salim Taha contacted us and asked for the civilians, meaning the Fatah al-Islam families, to be evacuated and for the army command to arrange this," Hajj said.

"We contacted the army which welcomed the offer and gave assurances for the safety of the civilians."

Negotiations

Hajj said Fatah al-Islam was counting the number of civilians that needed to be taken out so it could inform officials.

A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said she was aware of the ongoing negotiations, but no formal request had been made to the agency for assistance.

Most of the camp's 31,000 residents left soon after the fighting began on May 20.

The fighting has left at least 200 people dead, including 141 soldiers, in the deadliest internal unrest since the country's 1975-1990 civil war.

Sniper fire from inside the camp killed a pregnant Lebanese woman and a Lebanese soldier on Tuesday, the National News Agency said.