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Smoke rises during a clashes that erupted between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, Lebanon, April 9, 2017 (AP photo by Mohammed Zaatari).

Why Authorities Can’t Impose Order in Lebanon’s Largest Palestinian Refugee Camp

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Thursday, Palestinian security forces entered the Ain el-Hilweh camp for Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon, putting an end to a week of clashes involving Sunni Islamist militants that killed an estimated seven and injured dozens. The violence broke out last Friday, when a Palestinian security force met resistance from fighters affiliated with Bilal Badr—a radical Islamist with a strong foothold in Ain el-Hilweh—while attempting to deploy throughout the camp. In response, Fatah, the party that has controlled the Palestinian Authority since 1993, launched an offensive targeting Badr’s positions.

Jihadi groups aren’t a new phenomenon in Palestinian camps in Lebanon, which largely fall outside of the jurisdiction of Lebanese security forces. In 2007, the Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon was leveled during a conflict between the Lebanese army and the jihadi group Fateh al-Islam, with violence spilling over to surrounding villages. It has yet to be rebuilt. ...

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