Fierce clashes rock Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Smoke rises during clashes in Ein al Hilweh camp Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp near the southern coastal city of Sidon

Fighting intensifies in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

SIDON, Lebanon (AP) - Residents fled the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon on Sunday as clashes between security forces and radical Islamists intensified for the third day.

Ambulances rush the wounded to hospitals near the Ein el-Hilweh camp as the sounds of rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire echo from inside.

Representatives of several of the largest Palestinian factions, including Fatah, ordered the Islamist fighter Bilal Badr and his followers to hand themselves over to the authorities or face a decisive crackdown.

Ain al-Hilweh is the most densely populated Palestinian camp in Lebanon.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

In February, fighting erupted after Fatah pulled out of a joint security committee, prompting clashes that lasted days and killed one person.

In addition, various Lebanese political groups such as the Mustaqbal (Future) movement condemned the "deadly and destructive" clashes, and warned of the danger to the country of the propagating violence outside the perimeter of the camps. They are prohibited from owning property as well.

Lebanese Army commander Gen. Joseph Aoun vowed Thursday that the army will respond firmly to any attack against the military centers or the residential compounds surrounding the Ain Helweh Palestinian refugee Camp or to any attempt to move the clashes outside the said area.

On Wednesday Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman telephoned United Nations envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov and berated him for not commenting on the recent Palestinian deaths in the camp, saying it showed the "hypocrisy and double standards" the world has against Israel.

"The security in the camp [Ain al-Hilweh], and in any other Lebanese areas is part of Lebanon's security as a whole", the Army Commander said. Lebanese authorities have paused construction of a concrete barrier around the camp.

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