Lebanon + 1 more

Hamas leader in Syria demands safeguarding Palestinian refugees in northern Lebanon

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DAMASCUS, May 21, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Exiled Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Meshaal on Monday demanded Lebanese forces to preserve the lives of Palestinian refugees in northern Lebanon where the forces fought the radical Palestinian faction of Fatah al-Islam for a second day.

Meshaal telephoned Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora earlier in the day, "demanding that Lebanese forces take the utmost measures to preserve the lives of Palestinian civilians in the camp," said a statement of Meshaal's office in Damascus.

Seniora pledged that the Lebanese government would take measures to protect innocent Palestinian refugees, it said.

Meshaal also made telephone calls with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and Arab League chief Amr Moussa, discussing the clashes between Lebanese forces and Fatah al-Islam militants in the past two days, said the statement.

Meshaal expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia and the Arab League could make efforts to solve the crisis, it added.

By Monday noon, at least 57 people have been killed in two days of violence inside a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli in northern Lebanon.