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Palestinian refugee camp fighting in Lebanon kills three

At least three people have been killed in clashes between Islamists and members of the Fatah movement in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

Hundreds have fleed amid the fighting, which began on Saturday in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, and followed a failed assassination attempt targeting a Fatah party official.

Fatah is the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Ashraf Dabbour, Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, told Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV that a ceasefire agreement was concluded late on Monday. But clashes erupted again on Tuesday.

He said Islamist militants are seeking to seize control of the camp. "What is going on in the camp is part of what is happening in the region," he said, in reference to the rising powers of Islamic militant groups in neighbouring Syria and the region.

The clashes involved rockets and heavy machine gunfire, causing serious damages to homes, and injuring at least 20.

Some of the heavy weaponry had been used for the first time in the camp, local media reported.

The camp houses some 70,000 Palestinians. Militants and fugitives have also found refuge in the camp.

The fighting pitted the Fatah movement against several extremist Islamist groups including Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam.

The Ein el-Hilweh camp violence comes as the Lebanese capital is gripped by political drama, following anti-government protests.

Anger about rubbish accumulating in Beirut's streets boiled over this week with thousands protesting the government's failure to deliver basic services. The clashes turned violent over the weekend, prompting the government to erect a wall outside its main building to prevent protesters from reaching it.


From Belfast Telegraph