BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Pro-Syrian militiamen and Lebanese army units loyal to President Amin Gemayel clashed in the mountains northeast of Beirut Sunday in the second straight day of heavy fighting between the rival forces.
In southern Lebanon, a bomb exploded near a French position of the U.N. peacekeeping force east of the port of Tyre, wounding two French soldiers, a U.N. spokesman said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Christian militia sources said the troops, dug in along the Upper Metn mountains northeast of Beirut, opened fire with tanks and artillery on dozens of pro-Syrian militiamen trying breakthrough frontline defenses.
The army troops -- who are loyal Gemayel, a Maronite Christian - pounded the attackers with bombs and shells for 30 minutes and forced them to retreat, the sources said.
The armed forces made no statement on the attack, the second in two days on defenses of the Christian mountain heartland stretching from hills southeast of Beirut more than 25 miles in the north.
The Christian sources said none of the army troops was wounded in the fighting. They said they did not know if the forces aligned with Syria, the main foreign power broker in Lebanon, suffered any casualties.
The period of heavy fighting was the second in two days. On Saturday, pro-Syrian Moslem and Christian militias attacked Christian Lebanese Forces militiamen in east Beirut. Thirty-nine people were reported killed.
The Christian militia, the strongest in east Beirut, exchanged sporadic artillery and rocket exchanges Sunday with pro-Syrian Moslem miltias across the Green Line dividing Beirut into its Christian east and Moslem west sectors.
Hospital sources said two people were wounded in the shelling in east Beirut and four were injured in the west.
The Lebanese Forces said it a undertook a house-to-house search in east Beirut Sunday and captured a number of pro-Syrian elements hiding in shelters and garages.
The militia said the detainees included Moslem fundamentalist militiamen who took part the attack Saturday.
Officials from the Lebanese Forces, which is loyal to Gemayel, accused Syria of masterminding the attack Saturday and said it was led by Elie Hobeika, the former head of the Lebanese Forces who was ousted in bloody coup in January.
Hobeika angered Christians by signing a Syrian-mediated peace accord that called for granting more political power to Lebanon's majority Moslems. The chief of intelligence of the Syrian forces in Lebanon, Brig. Ghazi Kenaan, denied Damascus was behind the attack.
A spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon said one of the wounded French soldiers sustained superficial cuts and was taken to the peacekeepers' field hospital in the border town of Naquora. The other sustained damaged eardrums.
The spokesman said the bomb was made up of 66 pounds of explosives and apparently detonated by remote control as a convoy of French peacekeepers drove on a road near the village of Aitit east of Tyre, 46 miles south of Beirut.
The latest attack on the multinational force came less than four days after French peacekeepers took up new positions in the south, retreating from villages where suspected pro-Iranian gunmen have killed four Frenchmen since August.
The French pullback was ordered because of increasing attacks since Aug. 11, when a French soldier killed two Shiite Amal militiamen after a confrontaion at a roadblock.
Five U.N. peacekeepers -- four French enlisted men and and Irish officer -- were killed and at least 23 wounded in the fighting that followed.