Islamic Militants Declare Unilateral Ceasefire in Lebanon
22 May 2007
Islamic militants in Lebanon have announced a unilateral ceasefire after three days of fighting with Lebanese government forces left more than 75 people dead.
Fatah al-Islam militants said Tuesday they will stop fighting as long as Lebanese troops do not attack them. The group, which is believed to have ties to al-Qaida, is based in a Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli.
Witnesses report there were many dead and wounded on the streets. More than 75 people - soldiers, militants and civilians - have been killed since the fighting began on Sunday.
The militant group had earlier threatened to widen the battle outside the camp if the army did not stop the shelling.
In a statement sent to Western news agencies, the group claimed responsibility for two bomb blasts in Beirut over the past two days. However, the statement's authenticity could not be verified.
Lebanese police said six people were wounded in an explosion in a Muslim neighborhood (Verdun) of Beirut on Monday.
Earlier, one person was killed and 10 others were wounded in an explosion in a Christian sector of Beirut.
The battles on the outskirts of Tripoli are said to be the worst internal fighting since Lebanon's 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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