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Fighting Flares Betwen Moslems, Palestinians

December 19, 1986

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ The Shiite militia Amal pounded Palestinian positions in two refugee camps with tank and machine gun fire Thursday and the guerrillas fired back with mortars.

Police said seven people were killed and 25 wounded in the fighting at west Beirut’s Chatilla and Bourj el-Barajneh camps that ended a four-day lull. The casualties raised the known toll since the latest fighting began Nov. 24 to 520 killed and 1,297 wounded.

In New York, a U.N. spokesman said a Lebanese woman who worked for UNICEF in Beirut was killed by four masked gunmen Thursday while traveling to work by taxi.

Spokesman Francois Giuliani said the victim was Mrs. Nabila Brier, 41, who had worked in the UNICEF office for 10 years. She is survived by her husband and a 12-year-old son.

Meanwhile, Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi urged Lebanese leftists to fight with the Palestinians to prevent what he claimed was a Shiite attempt to create an Israeli-backed mini-state in southern Lebanon.

He offered ″without reservations″ to arm the Palestinians, the official JANA news agency reported.

Amal has been fighting for 19 months to keep the Palestine Liberation Organization from re-building the bases it lost when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Thousands of PLO fighters have slipped back into Lebanon, and Amal fears a renewed PLO presence will mean a return to cross-border raids and Israeli retaliation.

Gadhafi called on the Lebanese leftists to back the Palestinians against Amal to ″save Lebanon from being torn to pieces,″ JANA said. He accused Amal of ″trying to establish a mini-state, allied with Israel, in south Lebanon.″

The Iranian-brokered cease-fire that began Sunday has been blocked by the PLO’s refusal to withdraw from hills above Maghdousheh, three miles southeast of Sidon. Amal says this is a prerequisite for it allowing relief supplies into Chatilla and Bourj el-Barajneh and the Rashidiyeh camp near Tyre, 25 miles south of Sidon.

But PLO leader Yasser Arafat has pledged his fighters will not leave the hills until Amal lifts its siege of the three camps.

Syrian-backed guerrillas of the Palestine National Salvation Front, ideologically opposed to Arafat, left Maghdousheh several days ago. But Arafat’s mainstream Fatah remained.

Update hourly