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West Bank refugee camp threatens Palestinian leadership

Clashes between armed militants and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank's Balata camp could threaten the existence of the Palestinian government.
Palestinians burn tires at the entrance to the Balata refugee camp, close to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on January 21, 2013, as they call for the release of several gunmen arrested two days ago by Palestinian security. AFP PHOTO/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH        (Photo credit should read JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images)

The largest Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank is boiling, and the troubles that are usually confined to the Balata camp are now spilling outward, with the main Ramallah-Nablus road blocked by protesters. Continuous gunshots can be heard from the camp, travelers on the road told Al-Monitor. The camp has been the scene of regular clashes between armed militants and the Palestinian security forces since February, raising fears that the camp will provoke a major destabilization campaign against the Palestinian government and presidency.

Situated on the outskirts of the West Bank's largest city, Nablus, the Balata camp is home to over 23,000 Palestinian refugees, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

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