Palestinian elite force members pick dates in the refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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With the crowded camp's population swollen by 10,000 mostly Palestinian refugees from Syria, putting the total number of residents at around 90,000, the security situation in the camp has been fragile for several months.After assassinations – particularly of officials and members of the Fatah party – and gunfights became more and more frequent, a 150-member elite force composed of members of the camp's various factions was deployed in July, leading to an easing of tensions. Abu Arab's comments were echoed by the head of the new elite force, Gen. Khaled Shayeb, a senior Fatah official.The elite security force's deployment in the camp, which was delayed for several months, has proven to be a vital step for the camp, because now when incidents such as Yassin's murder occur, there is a single force that can step in.Some of these new recruits will be added to the Ain al-Hilweh group, while the others will go toward two new forces in the Burj al-Barajneh and Shatila camps in Beirut. Another force is also due to be established in the Mieh Mieh camp near Sidon.
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