Fierce clashes continue in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
Security forces have clashed with Islamic extremists for the third consecutive day in a Palestinian camp in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said on Sunday that at least two people have been killed since the clashes began.
Ambulances are rushing the wounded to hospitals near the Ain el-Hilweh camp as the sounds of rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire echo from inside.
Sidon’s government hospital was struck by a rocket, and Lebanese authorities have closed the main highway connecting the port city to southern Lebanon.
The clashes erupted on Friday night as a security force of leading Palestinian factions in the Ain al-Hilweh camp deployed under a new security plan, a source in the Palestinian Fatah faction said.
On Saturday, local Palestinian commander Subhi Abu Arab, vowed to crush the followers of radical preacher Bilal al-Badr.
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.
In February, fighting erupted after Fatah pulled out of a joint security committee, prompting clashes that lasted days and killed one person.
By long-standing convention, Lebanon's army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions.
Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria.