Fears of Daesh, Nusra Front takeover in Palestinian camp Ain el-Helweh
Palestinian refugees stand next to graffiti bearing a portrait of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at Ain el-Helweh camp in Lebanon. (AFP/File)
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Palestinian factions and the residents of the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp have reportedly received warnings from Lebanese sides that some militants are seeking to enable jihadist groups to seize control of the camp, which is the largest in Lebanon.
"There are terrorist preparations to overrun some areas in the Ain el-Hilweh camp and the pro-Daesh groups are being led by Imad Yassine while the pro-Nusra Front groups are being led by Haitham al-Shaabi, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Thursday.
It quoted security sources as saying that the Palestinian factions and residents have been cautioned that "the terrorists are trying to turn the camp into a time bomb that might explode any moment."
"Should the situation deteriorate and explode, it will lead to severe repercussions for the camp's residents, who will be the first casualty of the plots of these groups," the sources warned, calling on Palestinians to "protect the camp and expel the malicious terrorist elements from it."
The sources also called for "avoiding another Nahr al-Bared experience," referring to the devastating 2007 conflict between the Lebanese army and the extremist Fatah al-Islam group, which razed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp to the ground.
"The factions and the residents must prevent these groups from achieving the objective of turning the camp into an emirate for them and a launching pad for creating conflict between the camp and its neighbors," the sources added.
The sources, however, reassured that "the army is thoroughly monitoring what is happening in the Ain el-Hilweh camp and is still counting on the rational parties to defuse the unrest plots and eliminate its reasons through a series of measures."
"The army will not allow terrorism to find a safe haven in the camp or in any area in Lebanon," the sources stressed.
"It is totally unacceptable to turn the Ain el-Hilweh camp into a hub for terrorism that might spread to blow up entire Lebanon and any attempt will be confronted with all due force and resolve," they added.
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