Skip to main content

Hamas working to lower tensions in Lebanese camps

With security tensions escalating in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Hamas and Lebanese officials are discussing ways to avoid the camps being turned into arenas for settling regional scores.
Palestinian gunmen from different factions hold their weapons during the launch of a joint security force that includes all Palestinian factions, to maintain stability at the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon July 8, 2014.
Read in 

A number of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have experienced heightened security tensions since early February, with the Lebanese government alleging that Palestinians and Islamists belonging to armed groups are harboring in them. Sources among Hamas' leadership, speaking on condition of anonymity, informed Al-Monitor that Hamas is in constant contact with high-ranking Lebanese officials to try to head off security actions and other military clashes inside the camps.

Tensions took a turn for the worse May 5, when gunmen killed Moujahed Balous, a Hezbollah member, in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, in south Lebanon. Rumors circulated in Beirut that Balous' assassination was an organized attempt to eradicate any pro-Hezbollah or pro-Syrian regime presence in the camp, but Maj. Gen. Munir Maqdah, head of the Palestinian force charged with preserving order in the camp, said May 7 that the reason behind the assassination was unknown and that no suspect had been identified. The rising tensions were also exacerbated by the growth in the camps of armed Islamist organizations — among them Asbat al-Ansar, Jund al-Sham, Fatah al-Islam and Shabab al-Muslim — which has led to armed clashes between them and the Lebanese army. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.