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Lebanon: ‘Ain Al-Hilweh’ Camp Clashes Alert of Expanding | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke rises during clashes in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp near Sidon/ AFP

Beirut – The current fighting in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp in south Lebanon alerts of further developing amid attempts to form additional movements of extremist forces inside the camp to confront the Fatah Movement.

Clashes erupted on Friday night between the Fatah Movement and the extremist group of “Bilal Badr.” Islamic forces inside the camp are working on initiatives that could end the clashes, which already killed and injured tens of people.

The military leadership of Fatah insists on removing the phenomenon of “Bilal Badr” completely from the camp to become an example for other extremist groups. However, the movement’s political leadership seems more lenient, currently studying several suggestions to solve the crisis.

“Fighting continues without any break,” Sobhi Abu Arab, the head of the Palestinian National Security Forces in Lebanon, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The is no doubt that other groups have joined the fighting against us. We know that Bilal Badr group has already terminated, but there are groups replacing it,” he said.

The Islamic forces inside the camp, mainly Asbat al-Ansar, Hamas and the Islamic Mujahid Movement do not seem enthusiastic to continue fighting in the camp until curbing the “Bilal Badr” group by force, particularly after other extremist groups got involved in the clashes.

Sources form these forces told Asharq Al-Awsat there are attempts to draw a new formula that could solve the crisis after Fatah rejected the last initiative.

Meanwhile, Lebanese authorities seemed incapable to deal with the crisis, due to the absence of their decision or presence inside the Palestinian camps.

The Lebanese Cabinet was content on Monday to stress the need to work on controlling the security situation and on keeping the international highway near the camp open.

The Lebanese Army fortified their security measures in the city of Sidon and at the entrances of the camp.

“There is no security or political Lebanese decision in the camp since the signing of the 1969 Cairo Agreement, which stipulated that Palestinian refugees keep their light arms for self protection against Israeli aggressions,” official Lebanese sourced told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

At the battlefield, clashes were renewed in Ain al-Hilweh, mainly on the strongholds of the hardline Badr in al-Tira neighborhood, after a period of relative calm, Lebanon’s National News Agency NNA said on Monday.

It said the sounds of RPGs and gunfire were heard inside the camp as stray bullets hit the government-run Sidon Hospital.

The NNA said 6 people were killed and 35 others were injured during the fighting, while other sources said 9 people were killed and 40 were injured.