Palestinian force deploys in Lebanon camp, ending clashes

Kristopher Drake
April 13, 2017

Fighting erupted late Friday after Palestinian factions deployed throughout the camp as part of a joint security force aimed at combatting the influence of a local Islamic extremist group.

The Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon has witnessed for the third consecutive day fighting between a joint Palestinian force tasked with preserving security in the camp, and Bilal Badr's Islamist extremist group that opposed the deployment of the joint force.

The sources said the deal was only reached after Lebanese and Palestinian parties exerted pressure on the political leadership of Fatah, which was told that the battle had left a negative impact on the southern city of Sidon, its civilians and merchants. The camp's radical groups have regularly fallen afoul of Palestinian security forces for hiding fugitives from the Lebanese law.

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

"We ask from God that the situation calms down so that we can return to our homes", he said from Sidon's Musally mosque, where he was taking shelter.

Fatah's head in Lebanon said the security force would deploy in all areas of the camp with the aim of disbanding the Badr group and arresting its leader, Bilal Badr.

The spokesman for the Council of Palestinian Scholars in Lebanon said the radical groups were issuing fatwas authorizing the killing of people they disagreed with.

Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria. It was established in 1948, to host Palestinians displaced by Israeli forces during the establishment of Israel.

And Lebanon's health ministry announced it was evacuating patients from the Sidon governmental hospital adjacent to the camp and moving them to other facilities. Lebanese authorities have paused construction of a concrete barrier around the camp.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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