Firefight breaks out in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Published September 22nd, 2016 - 07:54 GMT
The Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp is located on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese city, Sidon. (AFP/File)
The Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp is located on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese city, Sidon. (AFP/File)

A militant group exchanged intense gunfire late Wednesday with Fatah movement members in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, as residents partially fled the area.

A security source told The Daily Star Thursday that machine guns and rocket propelled grenades were used in the armed dispute between members of an extremist group affiliated to Bilal Badr and Fatah fighters, which erupted between a vegetable market and Al-Fawqani street. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard in the early morning hours.

No casualties have been so far reported.

The fighting came after the camp held a general strike for the second consecutive day Wednesday to protest the killing of a Palestinian taxi driver.

Media reports said Thursday that the clashes began after relatives of the slain driver Simon Taha attempted to block a nearby road, prompting masked gunmen to open fire.

Palestinian sources suggested that 32-year-old Taha was shot Monday over allegations that he was a Lebanese Army informant who had helped convince wanted men to surrender. Others believe the motives were personal.

In July, religious figures in the camp and Lebanese authorities established an agreement to encourage fugitives hiding in Ain al-Hilweh to hand themselves in. More than 60 fugitives hiding in the camp have surrendered over the past two months.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original.


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