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Lebanese-Palestinian Agreement to Hand Over Wanted Militants | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Youth walk under an Islamic State flag in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Beirut – Lebanese and Palestinian security leaders have reached an agreement to hand over wanted Lebanese militants, who were taking refuge in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

The agreement followed heavy clashes on Monday between extremist militants and gunmen from the Palestinian Fatah party.

The two sides engaged in intermittent clashes since last week, trading machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, and wounding several people.

Extremists wanted by the Lebanese authorities, including retired artist Fadel Shaker and the infamous Shadi al-Mawlawi, have been hiding in the camp, which has regularly seen factional disputes spiral into deadly violence.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri headed a security meeting at the Grand Serail to discuss latest security developments in Ain al-Hilweh, while Palestinian camp leaders held a series of meetings with Lebanese officials to speed up the formation of a new joint security force after the Higher Palestinian Security Committee had been disbanded last month.

Official Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Lebanese authorities were calling on the dominant factions in the camp to hand over the wanted suspects and to restore stability in Ain al-Hilweh.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) said that calm finally prevailed inside the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain-el-Hilweh, as feudal parties committed to the ceasefire declared on Tuesday by the factions during a meeting at the Palestinian Embassy in Beirut.

The NNA added that the city of Sidon was scheduled to observe general strike, and schools and institutions would close for the day, as called forth by MP Bahiya Hariri, in an expression of rejection of inter-fighting among Palestinians.

The casualty toll of the clashes reached one dead and six wounded, according to the Lebanese news agency.