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Lebanese Army, militias impatient with cease-fire

A two-month-old cease-fire between the Lebanese Army and rival militias came close to collapse Wednesday warring factions said they were losing patience with seeing civilian areas bombarded.

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An artillery barrage near US Marine positions closed Beirut airport. Shells fell across wide areas of the mainly Christian area east and north of Beirut, and the Druze Muslim militias said their mountain villages to the southeast were also fired on.

Meanwhile in Tripoli, fighting broke out between supporters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Syrian-backed opponents as Arafat was reported to have demanded foreign officers to supervise a disengagement plan. Arafat put his request to a peace team which gave him details of the disengagement plan worked out by former Lebanese Prime Minister Rashid Karami.

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