Lebanon's besieged communities, suffering acute shortages of fuel, bread, water, and electricity, are pinning hopes for an end to their ordeal on Arab mediators meeting in Algeria this week. Political sources predict renewed fighting unless three heads of state manage to end a 103-day blockade imposed by Syrian and local Muslim forces on some 500,000 Christians in east Beirut.

The leaders of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria are also seeking ways to strengthen a cease-fire mediated May 11 by the Arab League between Syria and its allies and troops of Army commander Michel Aoun, a Christian. The May truce largely ended two months of bombardments in which at least 374 people were killed.

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