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Lebanese army shells refugee camp

Story Highlights

• Heavy artillery fired into Palestinian refugee camp in continuing fighting
• Fighting has left at least 62 members of the Lebanese military dead
• Two Red Cross workers were killed Monday at the entrance of the camp
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BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The Lebanese army fired heavy artillery into the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Tuesday, in what it says could be the final push to force Islamist militants from the camp, military sources said.

The sometimes pitched battle between the forces has left at least 62 members of the military dead.

Lebanese security forces moved deep into the camp last week to defeat the group, which is said to have ties with al Qaeda.

Two Red Cross workers were killed Monday at the entrance of the camp, according to a Red Cross representative.

As of Friday, Lebanese security forces said army troops were within about 80 meters (87 yards) from the militants, who were holding a key position inside the camp.

Islamist leaders have failed to persuade the leaders of the militant group, Fatah al-Islam, to surrender their weapons. Meanwhile, the military's top commanders have insisted the militants will be crushed if they continue to resist.

The violence began May 20, when Lebanese internal security forces were conducting raids in a Tripoli neighborhood, triggering clashes near the refugee camp. Army sources said militants from Fatah al-Islam fired on the forces, who then returned fire.

The battles are the worst internal violence since the end of Lebanon's civil war in 1990.

CNN's Nada Husseini contributed to this report.


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A Palestinian refugee holds her daughter after they were evacuated from a besieged Palestinian refugee camp.

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