At least one man was killed on Tuesday in clashes between Islamist militants and the Palestinian Fatah faction at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where a power struggle has fueled days of violence. The Ain el-Hilweh camp, on the outskirts of the southern coastal city of Sidon, has often seen factional disputes spiral into violence. Medical sources said the man killed was a civilian. Three other people, including a child, were wounded. Gunmen from Fatah, the party of West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, have regularly clashed with Islamist militants in the camp, including supporters of Islamic State and al Qaeda. The latest wave of violence began on Feb. 23. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees, said it had suspended all services in the camp on Monday and Tuesday because of the violence.Fatah has an agreement with Lebanese authorities to hand over wanted Islamist militants hiding out in Ain el-Hilweh, which is outside Lebanese security forces’ jurisdiction, a security source said.
The Hamas movement denied reports that it had been invited to attend the Fatah party’s seventh congress later this month, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasim told Ma’an on Monday. Qasim said that Hamas would not take part in Fatah’s internal conflicts, and called on the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to unite itself and focus on the national struggle against Israeli occupation. Fatah spokesman Mahmoud al-Hija, had previously said in a statement that Fatah had invited all Palestinian factions to attend the conference, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.