BEIRUT (AP) — Clashes intensified Wednesday in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, leaving at least five people dead and more than a dozen wounded, Lebanese state media and security officials said. Scores of civilians have been forced to flee to safer areas.
The latest deaths bring to 11 the number of people killed since the fighting erupted again in Ein el-Hilweh camp near the southern port city of Sidon on Sept. 7, despite multiple cease-fire agreements.
Stray bullets hit residential areas outside the camp, including several that struck a fire engine as firefighters were battling a blaze near an army post, the state-run National News Agency said. The blaze was not related to the camp fighting.
The fighting broke our last week after nearly a month of calm in Ein el-Hilweh between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group and members of militant Islamic factions.
Fatah and other allied factions had intended to crack down on suspects accused of killing a senior Fatah military official in the camp in late July.
NNA reported that among the five killed on Wednesday were three Fatah members. It said 15 people were also wounded in the clashes.
A top official with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouk, arrived in Beirut on Tuesday to push for an end to clashes with no success.
Ein el-Hilweh is home to some 55,000 people according to the United Nations, and is notorious for its lawlessness and violence.
Lebanon is home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Many live in the 12 refugee camps that are scattered around the small Mediterranean country. Ein el-Hilweh was established in 1948 to house Palestinians who were displaced when Israel was established.