The United States has rushed military aid to Lebanon as it had promised. Two military transport planes landed in Beruit with ammunition and supplies on Friday. It was not known if the planes had flown directly from the U.S. or if they came from U.S. military depots in the Middle East. The Pentagon has promised eight planeloads of military supplies.
But before the U.S. military arrived, a United Emirates plane full of military supplies landed on Thursday night.
The U.S. sped up deliveries of supplies to Lebanon’s army to help it fight what is believed to be al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants who have barricaded themselves inside a Palestinian refugee camp in the northern Lebanon.
The fighting in the refugee camp broke out after police searching for bank robbers raided suspected Fatah Islam hideouts in Tripoli. That routed out the bank robbery suspects who took refuge in the Palestinian refugee camp because Lebanese authorities are not allowed to enter the camps under a 1969 agreement with Palestinians.
However, the fighting has also caused thousands of Palestinian civilians to flee the camps.
Although the fighting broke out this week, military aid to Lebanon had been agreed upon before that happened, U.S. officials said. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated the Bush administration’s support for Lebanon.
“I certainly hope that the Lebanese government will be able to deal with these extremists,” Rice said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s just another example of extremists in the Middle East who are trying to destabilize democratic governments.”