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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thousands Trapped in Camp Siege

TRIPOLI, Lebanon -- A majority of families from a besieged Palestinian refugee camp caught in the crossfire between Islamic militants and the Lebanese army have fled, but thousands of people remain trapped inside, a UN official said Sunday.

The Nahr al-Bared camp, located near the outskirts of this northern Lebanon port, was calm Sunday after sporadic gunfire overnight between the army and Fatah Islam militants punctured a truce that had held four days.

Hoda al-Turk, a spokeswoman for the UN Palestinian refugee agency said more than 5,000 refugee families -- or about 25,000 refugees -- had left the camp, which is home to about 31,000 people, since the fighting began one week ago.

A majority of the families have fled to the nearby Beddawi refugee camp, while others are staying in Tripoli and other villages, she said.

In a videotape obtained Saturday in Tripoli, the head of the Fatah Islam, Shaker Youssef al-Absi, said his fighters would not surrender but would kill those who storm the camp.

"We wish to die for the sake of God. ... Sunni people are the spearhead against the Zionist Americans," said the bearded leader, who is suspected of having ties to al-Qaida.

He was shown seated before a black banner, as another militant holding an automatic rifle stood next to him. The tape also showed militants training in an unidentified camp.