UN halts services at refugee camp in Lebanon over armed fighters

Natalie Portman
By Natalie Portman 2 Min Read
origin 1A picture shows a deserted street with destruction caused by heavy clashes between Palestinian factions Fatah party and Islamic parties inside the refugee camp in Ain al Hilweh in the Lebanese southern port city of Sidon. STR/dpa

A United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees said Friday it has decided to suspend all its services at a major refugee camp in Lebanon due to the presence of armed fighters at its facilities following recent fighting.

Last month, deadly clashes erupted between rival factions at the the Ain el-Hilweh camp, some 40 kilometres south of Beirut.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said its indefinite suspension of all of its services at the camp, starting Friday, comes in protest against the continued presence of armed fighters at camp facilities including schools.

“These schools are unlikely to be available for 3,200 children at the start of the new school year, given repeated violations, and significant damage reported,” UNRWA said in a statement.

The agency called on the fighters to immediately vacate the camp’s facilities to “ensure unimpeded delivery of much needed assistance” to Palestine refugees.

The recent fighting at Ein el-Hilweh is estimated to have promoted around 2,000 people to flee the sprawling camp.

There are some 12 camps hosting Palestinian refugees across Lebanon. Ain el-Hilweh is the largest.

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