SIDON, Lebanon: Sporadic clashes between rival gunmen in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh left seven wounded Monday, most of whom were civilians.
Palestinian sources told The Daily Star that tensions were likely to escalate in the camp, located in the coastal city of Sidon, as camp officials seem to be incapable of calming the warring factions.
Tensions ran high in the camp after two gunmen from Fatah al-Islam headed by Bilal Badr shot at a Fatah center, prompting the guards to shoot back.
Badr accuses the Fatah Movement of working to assassinate Alaa Ali Hujeir, who was shot last week. Hujeir is still in critical condition.
The intermittent fighting forced schools inside the camp and nearby Sidon neighborhoods to evacuate students by midday while shops and other centers closed down.
The Palestinian Follow-up Committee and security forces attempted to mediate and ease tensions, as the camp has been on edge after a series of assassinations and disputes.
Last month, the bodyguard of Fatah al-Islam official Bilal Badr, Ali Khalil, was shot in the head and later died of his wounds.
The attacks came just weeks after a Sunni sheikh, Arsan Suleiman, was fatally shot in Ain al-Hilweh. The perpetrators of the recent attacks remain at large and unknown.