Clashes In Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugee Camp Necessitate Ceasefire
Following three days of brutal violence that killed at least five people, wounded dozens of others and displaced hundreds of families, Islamist factions in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon on Sunday said they will abide by a ceasefire.
52 people sustained wounds in the clashes, said Dr Riad Abu Al-Einen from the Al-Hamshari Hospital in Sidon that has received the casualties, according to AP. Meanwhile, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said four people were killed and 60 others injured.
Fighting between Islamist groups and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement has been making lives difficult in Lebanon’s Ein el-Hilweh camp since Friday. Fatah and other factions in the camp wanted to target suspects accused of killing one of their military generals.
Violence is not uncommon in Ein el-Hilweh. Home to some 55,000 people – as per UN figures – the camp is notorious for its lawlessness and violence. It was built in 1948 for Palestinian refugees seeking shelter following Israel’s establishment.
Earlier Fighting in Ein el-Hilweh Camp Left 13 Dead
In a statement, the Lebanese military said three shells landed in army checkpoints surrounding the refugee camp, wounding five soldiers. It raised warnings against the “consequences of exposing military members and positions to danger”.
UNRWA said dozens of families displaced from the refugee camp have sought shelter in nearby schools and mosques. Additional shelters are being set up after Lebanon’s prime minister and interior minister shut down an initiative to set up a few dozen tents for families.
Earlier this summer, several days of street battles in the camp left 13 people dead and wounded dozens of others. The violence compelled hundreds to flee their homes. It was brought to an end through an uneasy ceasefire that was put in place on August 3.
However, fighting was widely expected to resume as people accused of killing the Fatah general in late July weren’t handed over to the Lebanese judiciary. The small Mediterranean country is home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, with many of them living in 12 camps.