Hardline groups claim they have no intention to destabilize Ain el Helweh camp in Lebanon

Published July 30th, 2016 - 08:21 GMT
Gunmen march through Sidon's Ain al-Helweh camp. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayat)
Gunmen march through Sidon's Ain al-Helweh camp. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayat)

Senior Muslim figures in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh received a pledge from extremist Islamic groups that there will be no attempts to shake the stability in the camp or other Lebanese regions, the Kuwaiti al-Rai daily reported on Friday.

"Muslim figures in Ain el-Hilweh managed to get a clear commitment from the hardline Islamic groups, that support the ideology of the Daesh group and al-Nusra Front, of not taking any security action that could harm the stability of the camps mainly Ain el-Hilweh or other Lebanese regions," Palestinian sources told the daily.

"The Jihadi Islamist Movement, led by Sheikh Jamal Khattab and the Osbat al-Ansar group represented by Sheikh Abou Tarek al-Saadi and Abou Sharif Akl, has played a major role in communicating with the militant groups and the Muslim youth which resulted in declaring a clear position that there was no intention to carry out security operations that harm the camps or other regions," the Palestinian source added.

Some reports that emerged lately said that the army obtained information that a dangerous emir of Daesh in Ain el-Hilweh, Imad Yassine, has received orders from the Daesh foreign operations chief Abou Khaled al-Iraqi to stage major Iraq-like bombings across Lebanon.

Reports have added that extremist groups are also seeking to "create major chaos, destruction and terror in the various Lebanese regions, especially in Beirut and its southern suburbs, through targeting gatherings and densely-populated areas."

By long-standing convention, the army does not enter the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, leaving the Palestinian factions themselves to handle security.

That has created lawless areas in many camps, and Ain el-Hilweh has gained notoriety as a refuge for extremists and fugitives.

But the camp is also home to more than 54,000 registered Palestinian refugees who have been joined in recent years by thousands of Palestinians fleeing the fighting in Syria.

More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA. Most live in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps and face a variety of legal restrictions, including on their employment.

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