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Violence in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon leaves at least 6 dead, dozens injured

Violence in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon leaves at least 6 dead, dozens injured

Violence in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon leaves at least 6 dead, dozens injured

Violence in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon leaves at least 6 dead, dozens injured

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  • Fighting has been ongoing in southern Lebanon for five days.
  • The fighting is between members of Fatah and Islamist militants.
  • At least six people have been killed and more than 70 injured.
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As fighting entered its fifth day, first responders reported at least six fatalities and dozens of injuries from confrontations in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

Just weeks after similar battles pitted members of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah faction against Islamist militants, violence erupted late on Thursday in the Ain al-Helweh camp on the outskirts of the seaside city of Sidon.

Imad Hallak from the Palestinian Red Crescent’s Lebanon branch revised an earlier estimate of 60 wounded, saying the death toll has increased to at least “six dead, one of them killed on Monday, and more than 70 wounded”. He claimed that both combatants and civilians have died.

Strong Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is supported by Iran, called for an end to the bloodshed.

Hezbollah released a statement on Monday saying, “We call for an immediate ceasefire,” and that it had “deep regret” over the bloodshed.

After combat had partially subsided overnight, a correspondent in Sidon reported continued battles with automatic gunfire and artillery. The correspondent reported that mortars and bullets have just fallen outside the gates of the camp.

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The southern entrance to the city, according to Lebanon’s national news agency, is closed to traffic.

Three fighters and one civilian had been reported dead by the news agency on Saturday.

More than 54,000 officially recognized refugees reside in Ain al-Helweh, and thousands more Palestinians who fled the civil war in neighboring Syria in recent years have joined them.

The largest camp in Lebanon was built for Palestinians who were expelled from their homes or fled during the 1948 conflict, when Israel was being formed.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, reported on Sunday that “hundreds of families have left the camp” since the skirmishes started.

According to a source, 400 families were finding refuge at a mosque, while others sought safety with relatives or in temporary shelters.

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On Sunday, the Lebanese army reported that two military sites close to the camp had been hit by mortars, “leaving five soldiers wounded, one of whom is in critical condition.”

Conventionally, the army avoids the Palestinian camps and leaves the factions in charge of maintaining security.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, the army warned “the relevant parties inside the camp” against endangering military sites, adding that it would “take appropriate measures”.

The greatest outbreak of violence in the camp in years resulted from five days of fighting that started in late July and left 13 people dead and scores injured.

After one Islamist militant was murdered, an ambush that resulted in the deaths of five Fatah militants, including a military leader, followed.

The UN organization estimates that Lebanon is home to 250,000 Palestinian refugees. The majority endure a variety of legal limitations, including employment restrictions, and they reside in Lebanon’s 12 designated camps.

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