Rival Christian forces battled with artillery and machine guns through the night and again Saturday, raising fears of a new round of all-out war for control of Christian territory.
Three people were reported killed and eight wounded in the battles, in east Beirut and in the Kesrouan province north of the city. Most of the victims have been civilians.The clashes were the most serious since a cease-fire was declared March 3 between the troops of Gen. Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces Militia. The truce has been violated repeatedly.
A police spokesman, who cannot be named under standing regulations, predicted all-out warfare would break out again if a mediation committee is unable to work out a political settlement between the rival Christian groups.
A Christian source close to the mediators said: ``The gap separating Geagea and Aoun remains very wide. The mediators haven't been able to bring them closer.'