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Three killed in clashes at Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Smoke billows in the Palestinian Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp near Lebanon’s southern port city of Sidon on August 23, 2015, a day after two people were killed and 15 others wounded in fierce clashes there. (Photo by AFP)

At least three people have lost their lives and nearly three dozen others injured in clashes between the supporters of the Palestinian Fatah Party and members of an extremist armed group at the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

Clashes broke out between gunmen from the Jund al-Sham extremist group and the supporters of the Palestinian Fatah movement, in the northern sector of the Ain al-Hilweh camp near the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, late on Monday, and continued into Tuesday morning.

Palestinian sources in Sidon, situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the capital, Beirut, said two Fatah members, including an officer, were killed in the shootout. They did not provide any information whether the third person killed was a civilian or a militant.

Medical officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least 35 people also sustained injuries in the incident.

The development came only two days after two Fatah members were killed when Jund al-Sham sought to assassinate Ashraf al-Armoushi, Fatah’s security chief, inside the Ain al-Hilweh camp. Armoushi escaped the attack unscathed.

According to local medical sources, a total of at least 15 people, civilians and non-civilians, were wounded, some critically.

Ain al-Hilweh had a population of about 70,000 residents before the figure swelled by nearly two fold as a result of the influx of refugees fleeing the foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria.

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.


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