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7 Palestinians wounded in Lebanon camp clashes

May 14, 2014 6:36 P.M. (Updated: May 15, 2014 10:07 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Seven Palestinians were injured on Monday in clashes between rival factions that broke out in the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon, Lebanese media reported.

NOW Lebanon said that supporters of Wahhabi militant group Fatah al-Islam opened fire on the office of Baathist group al-Saiqa as well as the Palestinian security forces' office in the camp, in apparent response for the death of a Fatah al-Islam member three days earlier.

The slain member Alaa al-Din Ali Hojeir, was reported to have died on the Palestinian refugee camp's al-Fawqani street, where the clashes broke out on Wednesday.

The fighting escalated into clashes between the Bilal Badr Group and the Talal al-Ordoni Group, leading to the seven injuries.

During the clashes, 200 children were caught in the nearby Ghassan Kanafani kindergarten, but they were escorted out after after members of the UNRWA and the Palestinian Follow-up Committee worked with the Lebanese army to open up safe passage.

Following the clashes, residents took to the streets in protest, calling for a ceasefire and a return to security, NOW reported.

Ein al-Hilweh is a notoriously violent refugee camp in southern Lebanon, and clashes have escalated in recent years as groups in the camp have taken sides in the civil war in Syria and been provided access to both weapons and training with groups in the country.

Around 400,000 Palestinian refugees live across Lebanon, concentrated in camps that were set up after their descendants fled from their homes in what is now Israel in 1948, as part of the larger expulsion of around 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist groups as part of the effort to create a Jewish-majority state of Israel.

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