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2 Palestinians killed amid rising tensions in Lebanon camp

March 28, 2016 9:26 P.M. (Updated: March 29, 2016 9:46 A.M.)
Palestinian refugees, who fled the violence in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp, take part in a demonstration on April 10, 2015 in Ain Al-Helweh. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Tensions rose sharply in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp on Monday after deadly shootings by rival factions left two dead.

In Ain al-Helweh refugee camp's first shooting, a local Fatah official, identified as Abdullah Qablawi, was shot dead near the camp's market.

Another two Palestinians, named Jamil A., and Ibrahim A.S., were wounded in the attack and taken to the nearby al-Nidaa al-Insani hospital for treatment.

An hour later, unidentified assailants killed a relative of the Palestinian believed to have been behind the first shooting.

The man was identified as Mahmud al-Natur, brother of Omar al-Natur, allegedly responsible for the first attack and a member of rival faction Fatah al-Islam.

Streets inside the impoverished and overcrowded camp were left empty following the killings, with all shops closed and some families fleeing.

Ain al-Helweh, which lies near the Lebanese city of Sidon, has become increasingly unstable over the past year, with violent clashes last summer displacing as many as 3,000 Palestinian refugees.

More than 54,000 registered Palestinian refugees live in the camp, who have been joined in recent years by thousands of Palestinians fleeing the fighting in Syria.

More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with UNRWA. Most live in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps and face a variety of legal restrictions, including on their employment.
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