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Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon becomes battlefield for Fatah-Islamist conflict

The precarious security situation in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon has been reignited by recent clashes between the Fatah movement and Islamist militants inside the camp.
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Recent armed clashes in Ain al-Hilweh could signal that tensions are reaching a boiling point that the Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon is ill-equipped to handle. Two people were killed and 15 wounded Aug. 22-29 in fighting between Islamist militants and members of Fatah. Ain al-Hilweh's two square kilometers (0.77 square miles) is home to some 100,000 people. Weapons are widespread, and some of the country's most-wanted people, Palestinian and Lebanese alike, reside there, enjoying the protection of certain armed groups. Over the past few years, matters have been additionally complicated by the Syrian refugees flowing into the camp. 

The recent fighting was not triggered on the spur of the moment. On July 25, gunmen assassinated Fatah Brig. Gen. Talal Balawna in the southern part of the camp. No one claimed responsibility, prompting a state of alert among the Palestinian groups in the camp. The situation has been unstable ever since.

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