Clashes in Ain al-Hilweh camp after Islamist handed to army

Clashes in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp after Islamist handed to Lebanese army
2 min read
18 September, 2021
Heavy clashes erupted in the south Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp after a wanted Islamist was handed over to the Lebanese army.
Clashes between rival Palestinian factions are common in Ain al-Hilweh [Getty]

Clashes erupted in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon on Saturday after an Islamist was handed over to the Lebanese army, local media reported.

The fighting erupted after the Fatah Movement - in charge of security inside the camp - handed over a man identified as Mustafa F. from the Islamist Jund al-Sham movement to Lebanese military intelligence, according to the official National News Agency.

Machine guns, RPGs and grenades were used in the clashes and could be heard in the vicinity, while smoke was seen billowing from the densely urban area.

While some injuries were reported, residents were forced to leave their homes after the situation quickly deteriorated, especially in the camp’s Taamir neighbourhood where Mustafa was arrested.

Commander of the joint Palestinian security force, Abdel Hadi Al-Asadi, said contacts were being made at the highest level between Palestinian and Islamist forces inside the camp to implement a ceasefire.

"What is happening are skirmishes confined to a specific geographical area… inside the camp, and we will work quickly, with the cooperation of all, to establish a ceasefire and calm the situation," he said.

Mediators eventually helped end the fighting, which resulted in material damage to private property and at least seven injuries according to MTV Lebanon. The wounded were taken to hospital for treatment.

Such clashes are not uncommon in Ain al-Hilweh, where many rival factions share the camp. It has for long been a haven for fugitives also.

It is the largest of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps and sits on the southeastern end of the coastal city of Sidon.