Fierce clashes rock Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

A pall of smoke over the Ain al Hilweh camp near the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon

A local Palestinian commander in Lebanon has vowed to crush a small group of extremists in a refugee camp as clashes intensified for a second day and at least one person was killed.

Lebanon's Palestinian camps, which date back to the 1948 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, mainly fall outside the jurisdiction of Lebanese security services.

According to the BBC, the confrontation began on Friday when the joint security forces of Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp were attacked by radical Islamists.

Wednesday, an exchange of fire erupted in the camp was set to delay the deployment of the joint force.

An injured member of the Palestinian Fateh Movement stands guard during a clashes that erupted between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port cit. There are some 450,000 Palestinian refugees living in 12 camps in Lebanon.

Ambulances were rushing the wounded to hospitals near Ain el-Hilweh as the sounds of rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire echo from inside.




The fighting has prompted security measures outside the camp, which Lebanese security forces do not enter by long-standing agreement.

Salah al-Ali, a resident of the camp, said there was damage from shelling inside the camp.

The factions agreed to dismantle the so-called Bilal Badr group, whose members have been accused of sheltering fugitives from the Lebanese authorities and issuing fatwas authorising the killing of people with whom they disagree.

"This has led to chaos in Ain el-Hilweh", said Sheikh Mohammed al-Muwad, in his office in Sidon. "These groups do not abide by any oaths or promises". They are prohibited from owning property as well.

Many people wanted by the Lebanese authorities are believed to have taken refuge in the camp.

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