updated 5/31/2007 3:46:27 PM ET 2007-05-31T19:46:27

A Lebanese soldier was killed by Islamic militants’ sniper fire Thursday, the latest casualty of the 12-day standoff between the military and Fatah Islam fighters at a refugee camp in northern Lebanon, security officials said.

The death raises to 32 the number of soldiers killed since fighting between the army and Fatah Islam militants began May 20. At least 20 civilians and about 60 militants have also been killed.

The Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp is ringed by hundreds of soldiers, backed by artillery and tanks, in place to storm the camp and prevent militants from fleeing. The government has vowed to crush the militants, who have said they will fight till the end.

Thousands of Palestinians have fled the camp, but thousands more are still inside, along with the Fatah Islam fighters.

Sporadic gunfire exchanges have continued daily since a truce halted three days of heavy fighting.

The security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements, said the soldier who was killed had been hit by militants’ sniper fire from inside the camp. They said three soldiers were wounded during overnight fighting.

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