Israeli warning sets off exodus from west Beirut

Cars packed with refugees clogged routes out of besieged west Beirut Monday as hundreds of families heeded an Israeli warning to quit the area.

A Christian militiaman said that all Lebanese were being allowed to leave but that Palestinians, whom the Christian militia has sworn to expel from Lebanon, might be arrested. Lebanese Army soldiers patrolling crossings estimated that about 300 families a day have left west Beirut over the previous three days, but the figure was much higher Monday.

Britain closed its embassy in west Beirut Monday because of the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon, the Foreign Office in London announced.

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