Palestinian force deploys in Lebanon camp, ending clashes

Jerome Frank
April 13, 2017

Clashes were halted on Tuesday morning after reports that the "Bilal Badr" group had left the neighborhood where it had taken refuge and had prevented the joint Palestinian security force from deploying.

Lebanon's army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions.

A member of the Palestinian Fatah faction fires his weapon during clashes against hard line Sunni Islamists known as the Badr group inside the Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp near Sidon, southern Lebanon April 11, 2017.

"It came under fire from a neighbourhood under the influence of extremist Islamist groups, which oppose the security plan of the factions and their deployment", the source told AFP.

It quoted a representative of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement as saying that "ending the phenomenon of Bilal Badr is still a goal".

Ein El Hilweh resident Salah Al Ali said the camp had been damaged by shelling. Per an agreement with the PLO, Lebanon's security forces are not authorized to enter the camp.

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Traces of violence spilt beyond the camp's boundaries, and Lebanon's authorities closed the motorway connecting the city to southern Lebanon.

Gunfire and explosions were heard on Sunday night, but Lebanese media said the camp appeared calm on Monday. "These groups do not abide by any oaths or promises".

Lebanon's Palestinian camps mainly fall outside the jurisdiction of the Lebanese security services.

Ain al-Hilweh is home to multiple armed factions, and has been plagued by intermittent clashes between them as well as against smaller extremist groups.

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

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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