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Reporters on the Job

Fighting in Tripoli, Too: On his way to the Palestinian refugee camp north of Tripoli Tuesday, correspondent Nick Blanford stumbled upon another conflict. "We saw troops on the street so we pulled over to see what was happening. They told us that there were a handful of militants in an apartment block here in the center of the city," says Nick. He watched for about an hour, as the Lebanese Army and police slowly tightened the cordon around the building. "We heard machine gun fire and were told it was covering fire for the military. They tossed grenades into the building, which started a fire. The firetrucks arrived to hose it down, but there was no sign of the militants," says Nick.

Later, he heard that one militant, wearing a suicide bomb vest, had run out of the back of the building and blown himself up. There were conflicting reports as to whether he had killed or injured anyone other than himself.

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What worries most Lebanese, says Nick, is that such incidents in downtown Tripoli indicate that the threat from the militants is not confined to the Palestinian camps (see story). "The suicide bomber was only a few blocks from where street battles broke out Sunday between the Islamic militants and the Lebanese Army," he says.

– David Clark Scott
World editor