Shiite Moslem foes traded rocket and machine gun fire in Beirut's southern suburbs early Monday as negotiators considered how to evacuate bodies from a southern Lebanese town devastated in two weeks of militia fighting.

Militia sources said Iranian-backed Hizbollah gunmen clashed with men of the pro-Syrian Amal militia in the Ghobeiri and Chiyah districts.They described the exchanges as sporadic but said tensions were high in the southern suburbs, patrolled by thousands of Syrian troops who were sent in last year to quell inter-Shiite street battles.

Amal and Hizbollah representatives were due to meet later in the southern port of Sidon to try to arrange a second evacuation of bodies from the southern town of Jubah, focal point of this year's fighting.