BEIRUT (AP) — Overnight clashes Sunday in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon left 1 dead and 6 others wounded, Palestinian officials said.
The clashes took place as Palestinian factions in Ein el-Hilweh cracked down on militant Islamist groups and fugitives seeking shelter in the camp’s overcrowded neighborhoods. In 2017, Palestinian factions engaged in almost a week of fierce clashes with a militant organization affiliated with the extremist Islamic State group.
The Palestinian officials, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the clashes broke out after an unknown gunman tried to assassinate Islamist militant Mahmoud Khalil, killing a companion of his instead.
According to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, six people were wounded in the clashes, including two children.
Factions used assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers in the overcrowded camp, as ambulances zoomed through its narrow streets to take the wounded to the hospital.
The clashes have mostly stopped, though state media said there was still sporadic sniper fire.
Several residents fled the crossfire to nearby neighborhoods in the camp.
Ein el-Hilweh is notorious for its lawlessness and clashes are not uncommon. The U.N. says it is home to some 55,000 people.
It was established in 1948 to host Palestinians displaced by Israeli forces during the establishment of Israel.