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3 Soldiers Killed in South Lebanon

July 12, 2002

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SIDON, Lebanon (AP) _ Three members of the Lebanese army intelligence service were killed late Thursday while trying to make arrests near Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, the Lebanese army said.

An army statement said the soldiers came under fire from armed Palestinians while attempting to arrest a wanted Palestinian, Badieh Hamadeh, in the Hamshari neighborhood of the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp.

Army units were tracking down the culprits, the statement said.

It identified the dead soldiers as Chief Sergeant Ali Hamza, Corporal Radwan Milhem and private Ali Saleh.

Ein el-Hilweh, on the outskirts of Sidon, the provincial city in southern Lebanon, is home to 75,000 people.

The camp, controlled by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s mainstream Fatah faction and other rival groups, is known for lawlessness. Lebanese security forces guard its gates but do not enter the camp. Several Palestinians wanted by police are believed to be hiding in the camp.

They include top fugitive Ahmad Abdel-Karim al-Saadi, better known as Abu Mohjen, leader of the Partisans’ League, an extremist Palestinian group on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations. It was not immediately clear if Hamadeh was linked to Abu Mohjen.

Abu Mohjen, who is wanted in connection with several killings, and his men have been blamed for attacks on Lebanese policemen and for blowing up liquor stores in the Sidon area.

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