Arab, US military aid arriving in Lebanon
Military aid from the United States and Arab allies started arriving Friday after Washington said it was rushing supplies to the Lebanese army battling al-Qaeda-related fighters holed up inside a Palestinian refugee camp in the country's north.
Sporadic gunfire exchanges early Friday were reported as the Lebanese army continued to build up around the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp near the port city of Tripoli. The move appeared to be either a preparation to storm the camp or a tightening of the siege to force them to surrender.
A deputy Fatah Islam leader threatened more violence if the army attacks. Abu Hureira told the pan-Arab Al Hayat daily by telephone that "sleeper cells" in other Palestinian camps and elsewhere in Lebanon were awaiting word for a "violent response."
Although U.S. officials said the military aid to Lebanon had been agreed to before the fighting broke out, the quick shipment Friday marked the first tangible U.S. backing of the Lebanese authorities' fight with the militants.
By early afternoon Friday, a total of five military transport planes landed at the Beirut airport, including one from the U.S. Air Force, two from the Emirates' air force and two Royal Jordanian Air Force planes, the AP reported.
A Pentagon official said Thursday that the United States would send ammunition and other equipment to the Lebanese army in a military airlift of eight planes.