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Palestinian man killed in Lebanon's Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp

June 11, 2017 10:24 A.M. (Updated: June 11, 2017 10:56 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian man was shot dead in unclear circumstances in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Lebanon on Saturday.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that the man, who was only identified as “A.M.,” was shot in the head “by mistake” while he was inside of his shop in the refugee camp.

He was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Separately, a Lebanese security source said that unidentified assailants set off an explosive device in Ain al-Hilweh near to where the joint Palestinian security force were stationed on Saturday. No casualties were reported, but a nearby house sustained damages.

The incidents came a day after Fatah officer Samer Ghali was killed and another camp resident was injured when Ghali attempted to put an end to a personal dispute, reportedly about a vegetable market stall, according to Lebanese news outlet The Daily Star.

Ghali had attempted to intervene in the dispute between Abed Kenaan and Muhammad Talal al-Maqdah on Friday, which escalated into a shootout, leaving Ghali killed and bystander Abdullah Bliebel injured.

NNA reported on Saturday that the joint Palestinian forces later turned over the accused killer, identified as Mahmoud Kenaan, to Lebanese authorities. Investigations were said to be ongoing to find suspects involved in the killing.

The Daily Star quoted anonymous Palestinian sources as saying that the Friday incident indicated that the newly deployed joint security force “is unable to probe itself on the security scene.”

“It has even became like the UNIFIL, in that it simply monitors the situation, reports incidents, and refers reports” the sources told The Daily Star, referring to the UN-mandated peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon.

Shortly after the joint force was first deployed in the camp, violent clashes broke out for days in April, leaving at least 10 killed and rendering numerous buildings uninhabitable -- compensation for which Ain al-Hilweh’s residents have yet to receive.

The largest and most crowded refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 54,116 registered refugees who fled their villages during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, according to the UN.

However, the population has significantly increased since 2011 as a result of the Syrian war, as Palestinians have been displaced a second time from refugee camps across Syria, with development nonprofit organization Anera estimating the camp's population to be closer to 120,000.

According to UNRWA, Ain al-Hilweh suffers from high rates of poverty and poor housing conditions, which have been further stressed as a result of overcrowding in recent years.
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