Children hold on to a bus in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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A new split between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas has put the teeming Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp on edge, raising fears that the tension might spark a new round of fighting among feuding parties in Lebanon's largest Palestinian shantytown.However, officials in the camp scrambled to allay fears of violence, saying Ain al-Hilweh, the scene of frequent fighting in the past between rival factions vying for influence, would not be another Nahr al-Bared camp or a theater for settling scores between Fatah and Hamas. The Lebanese Army battled for more than three months against Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam militants in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon in 2007, a war that left the camp almost completely flattened. Sources in Hamas, which is part of the joint elite force deployed in the camp to maintain security, said that the movement's representative in Lebanon Ali Barakat had contacted Fatah's strongman Fathi Abu Ardat, and the two had agreed to distance the Palestinian camps from the ongoing struggle in Gaza.
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