Ain al-Hilweh: Hamas official condemns ‘destruction’ of refugee camp to tackle terrorism without results

Middle East Monitor  /  September 14, 2023

A senior member of the Hamas political bureau has described what is happening in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon as its “destruction under the pretext of fighting terrorism, but without any significant results,” Quds Press has reported. Mousa Abu Marzouk added in a tweet on Wednesday, “We have made great efforts to help those in difficulty, but the promises made to us seem meaningless.”

A Hamas delegation headed by Abu Marzouk arrived in Beirut on Tuesday. The delegation visited the Acting Director General of Lebanon’s Public Security Service, Major General Elias al-Bisari, on Wednesday. Also in the meeting were the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, and the Secretary-General of the Islamic Group [Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya], Sheikh Mohammad Taqouch.

According to a statement issued by the movement, the delegation praised the role of the Lebanese authorities, officials and party figures, as well as the Palestinian factions in bringing security and stability to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, especially Ain al-Hilweh outside Sidon. “It is important,” stressed Hamas, “for all efforts by all forces to be continued in order to maintain the ceasefire in Ain al-Hilweh.”

The statement quoted Abu Marzouk as saying, “We reached a binding agreement with the Fatah movement stipulating the need for consultation and coordination between all Palestinian factions and forces regarding the steps, procedures and policies related to the Palestinian issue in Lebanon.” He added that the parties agreed that a joint Palestinian force and not a single faction must be responsible for the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, as all factions carry that responsibility.”

Quds Press correspondent reported on Wednesday that fighting has broken out again in Ain al-Hilweh, with ten people reported to have been killed, and “dozens” wounded. At least 26 people were killed when fighting broke out between Palestinian militants in the camp after the killing of Major General Abu Ashraf al-Armushi on 30 July, with more than 180 wounded. Thousands of Palestinian refugees in the camp were forced to flee their homes as the fighting raged around them.


Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp rivals in Lebanon agree to cease-fire after clashes

Middle East Monitor  /  September 14, 2023

A cease-fire agreement was reached in the Palestinian Ain al-Hilweh camp in southern Lebanon, a government official announced, Anadolu Agency reports.

The cease-fire brokered by the Lebanese authorities is set to take effect as of 6 pm local time (1500GMT), said Nabih Berri, Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker.

The death toll from renewed clashes between Palestinian armed groups in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp has reached 15 after a week of violent clashes, Lebanon’s state media reported on Thursday.

According to the National News Agency, the clashes which erupted last week between the Palestinian Fatah movement and a rival armed group in the camp also left nearly 150 others injured.

On 29 July, the camp saw heavy clashes between the same fighting groups, leaving 11 people dead and more than 40 others injured, according to UN figures.

Established in 1948, Ain al-Hilweh is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, with 50,000 registered people, according to UN figures, though unofficial statistics put the camp’s population at 70,000.

The total number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is estimated to be about 200,000, distributed among 12 camps, most of which are controlled by Palestinian factions.