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News In Brief

Beirut suburbs embattled as US envoy renews quest

Fighting between the Lebanese Army and Shiite Muslim militiamen raged Wednesday in Beirut's southern suburbs as US envoy Donald Rumsfeld returned for more talks with Lebanese leaders.

The Lebanese government held its troops ready for rapid deployment under a comprehensive security plan. A Cabinet statement said, ''It has become clear that delays in activating the plan may lead to immense dangers.''

An unidentified person was killed by sniper fire. Several shells fell on the coastal township of Khalde, farther south, where the Army faces Druze militiamen in the nearby hills.

A security committee of representatives of the Army and the rival factions met Wednesday and worked out yet another cease-fire.

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