Deadly clashes hit Lebanon Palestinian camp again

Fresh fighting rocks south Lebanon Palestinian camp. (Photo/AFP)

Two people were killed in clashes that erupted again after a relatively calm night at Ain El Helweh, a restive Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon's south, official media reported.

Fresh violence broke out also in Ain El Helweh, on the outskirts of the coastal city of Sidon, just weeks after deadly clashes pitted members of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement against other militia fighters.

Ongoing fighting inside the camp on Saturday killed one person and wounded seven others, Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) said.

A source in the camp's Palestinian leadership told AFP on condition of anonymity that the man killed was a militant.

The NNA said a second person was killed and several others wounded outside Ain El Helweh by stray bullets.

While calm had largely prevailed overnight, heavy clashes broke out on Saturday morning, an AFP correspondent in Sidon said, reporting the sound of automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.

A public hospital directly adjacent to the camp transferred all its patients to other facilities due to the danger, its director Ahmad al Samadi told AFP.

Worst outbreak of violence

Ain El Helweh is home to more than 54,000 registered refugees and thousands of Palestinians who joined them in recent years from Syria, fleeing war in the neighbouring country.

The camp, Lebanon's largest, was created for Palestinians who were driven out or fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

In the worst outbreak of violence in the camp in years, five days of clashes that began in late July left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

Those clashes erupted after the death of a fighter, followed by an ambush that killed five Fatah members including a military leader.

The United Nations' resident coordinator in Lebanon, Imran Riza, on Friday urged "armed groups to stop the fighting in the camp" and to "immediately" vacate schools belonging to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

"The use of armed groups of schools amounts to gross violations" of international law, Riza said in a statement.

Lebanon hosts an estimated 250,000 Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA.

Most live in one of Lebanon's 12 official camps and face various legal restrictions, including employment.

By long-standing convention, the army does not enter Palestinian camps, now bustling but impoverished urban districts leaving the factions themselves to handle security.

Source: TRT