| 19.12,11. 06:18 AM |
Heavy Clashes in Ain al-Hilweh after Another al-Lino Bodyguard Killed
Fierce clashes erupted on Sunday in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp between Fatah Movement and the Islamist group Jund al-Sham after a bodyguard of Palestinian Armed Struggle chief Mahmoud Issa, aka al-Lino, was shot dead, three days after another bodyguard was assassinated in the same manner.
Three other people were wounded when an unidentified gunman opened fire in the camp, including a Fatah Movement military officer and a child, a Palestinian official in the camp told Agence France Presse.
The gunman opened fire at al-Lino’s bodyguard Amer Fustoq in the camp’s vegetable market, wounding him severely in the head and other places of his body.
Fustoq died of his wounds shortly after being rushed to the Labib Medical Center in the neighboring southern city of Sidon.
Fatah officer Talal al-Ordoni was among those wounded in the shooting.
Many families were leaving the scene in vehicles as gunfire echoed across the camp, according to an Agence France Presse correspondent.
Later on Sunday, al-Lino told Al-Jadeed television “there are suspicious groups linked to outside forces.”
“I stress that new faces implicated in the incidents have surfaced. We’re trying to decipher this riddle and the results will come out soon,” he added.
“The (adjacent) al-Tawari camp hosts remnants of (the extremist Islamist group) Fatah al-Islam who are linked to individuals in the Ain al-Hilweh camp, and new elements have entered the camp and caused this unrest,” al-Lino claimed.
On Thursday al-Lino accused members of the Islamist militant group Jund al-Sham of assassinating his first bodyguard, Ashraf al-Qaderi.
“Maybe there are instructions to continually target the PAS and national security and shove us in internal struggles,” al-Lino told al-Jadid TV.
Another Fatah official, who refused to be identified, told al-Liwaa daily in remarks published Thursday that a Jund al-Sham militant opened fire on 28-year-old al-Qaderi in Ain el-Hilweh on Wednesday, killing him instantly.
The official said that Jund al-Sham members are seeking to create tension after several security incidents, bombings and shootings at the camp.
He added that several members of the militant group had been arrested by the Palestinian Armed Struggle and handed over to Lebanese authorities.
The official hinted that al-Qaderi’s killing was aimed at taking vengeance at the arrests.
Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian camp in the country, is home to about 50,000 refugees and is known to harbor extremists and fugitives.
By long-standing convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the country's 12 refugee camps, leaving security inside to the Palestinians themselves.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) estimates that some 425,000 Palestinian refugees are living in Lebanon. Others, however, estimate the number to be closer to 250,000.