Shias Lift Siege of Two Beirut Camps

Associated Press

Shia Muslim militiamen Wednesday lifted a nearly three-year-old siege of Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, and Syrian troops immediately rolled in to keep the peace.

Reporters saw irregulars of the Amal militia pull away in trucks and jeeps from sandbagged positions and earthworks around the Chatilla and Borj el Brajne shantytowns, home to an estimated 30,000 people.

The so-called camps war between Lebanese Justice Minister Nabih Berri's Amal militia and Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization has killed more than 1,600 people and wounded 3,600, by Lebanese police count.

Berri said Saturday that he was lifting the blockade as a gift to the "heroic" Palestinians who have been rioting against Israel's occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Dec. 8.

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