Five killed in clashes in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
At least five people have been killed in two consecutive days of clashes between fighters from the Palestinian Fatah movement and extremists in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
Clashes broke out in Ain al-Hilweh camp, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, near the southern coastal city of Sidon, late on Friday, when Fatah and some other Palestinian factions, taking part in a joint security force, began deploying across the camp to curb an extremist faction, known as Badr group.
The joint force, deployed to implement a security plan, came under fire by militants in a part of the camp and fierce clashes ensued. On Sunday, local medical sources announced that during the previous two days two civilians, two members of the joint force, including a Fatah fighter, and one Badr militant had been killed.
They also said that the skirmishes had left dozens more people wounded in the latest round of fighting in the volatile camp.
Later on Sunday, when the intensity of the clashes decreased, Palestinian officials in the camp called on the remaining members of the extremist group to lay down their arms and surrender.
In recent months, intermittent deadly clashes have been erupted in the camp and mortar bombs have been used in most of them.
Ain al-Hilweh has a population of about 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria. It also houses fighters and militants belonging to various armed groups.
During most of the second half of 2016, the camp was also the scene of violent clashes between members of the Jund al-Sham militant group and Fatah fighters.
Under a tacit deal stuck after the 1975-1990 civil war, the Lebanese army does not enter the country’s 12 official Palestinian refugee camps, where the factions themselves handle security.