Palestinian force deploys in Lebanon camp, ending clashes

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The leaders of Palestinian political factions in Lebanon have agreed to destroy a militant group engaged in clashes with Joint Palestinian Security Forces in the al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon.

An AFP correspondent on the outskirts of the camp in the city of Sidon reported the sound of intermittent fighting and bursts of gunfire, after a night of heavy clashes. Sidon's government hospital was struck by a rocket.

According to the BBC, the confrontation began on Friday when the joint security forces of Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp were attacked by radical Islamists.

Ain al-Hilweh is Lebanon's largest refugee camp and has been notorious for harboring fugitives and for on and off fighting between Fatah and extremist groups.

The fighting prompted the Lebanese army to take security measures at the entrance of the camp, including shutting the highway next to it.

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Lebanon's army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions.

Information received by Asharq Al-Awat from inside the camp said that Bilal Badr is now in the protection of the terrorist Fatah al-Islam leader Osama al-Shehabi.

The spokesman for the Council of Palestinian Scholars in Lebanon said the radical groups were issuing fatwas authorizing the killing of people they disagreed with.

"The security force will be deployed throughout the camp to bring security to it, and there is no other solution", Lebanon's official National News Agency quoted a Fatah commander as saying.

"This has led to chaos in Ein el-Hilweh", said Sheikh Mohamad al-Muwad, in his office in Sidon. They are also prohibited from owning property. It was established in 1948, to host Palestinians displaced by Israeli forces during the establishment of Israel.

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