Foreign Policy

published : 2023-09-30

Security forces replace militants in Palestinian refugee camp as cease-fire holds

Deployment has raised hopes of maintaining a nearly 2-week cease-fire in the camp

An image of a Palestinian security force in action, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

A Palestinian security force has replaced militants in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Ein el-Hilweh, as a nearly two-week cease-fire holds.

The deployment in the camp's school complex, consisting of 55 fighters from various factions, took place on Friday, replacing the gunmen who had occupied it since late July.

The camp, located near the southern port city of Sidon, has been the site of intense fighting that resulted in over 30 casualties.

The recent deployment of the security force has raised hopes for the sustainability of the cease-fire.

A photo of the occupied school complex in Ein el-Hilweh, capturing the remnants of the intense fighting, taken with a Nikon D850.

The complex includes eight schools, and the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has been urging the gunmen to evacuate ahead of the upcoming school year.

The situation in the camp is expected to return to normal, according to Haitham al-Shaabi, the commander of Shabab al Muslim, one of the Islamic militant factions involved.

The handover of Abu Ashraf al-Armoushi's killers, a senior Fatah military official who was gunned down in July, remains unresolved and the militants are yet to surrender them.

Earlier this week, it was announced that over 11,000 Palestinian children in south Lebanon will not be able to start school on October 2 due to the clashes in Ein el-Hilweh.

A picture of Palestinian children unable to start school due to the clashes, seeking refuge in a UNRWA facility, taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III.

Given that armed groups have taken over all eight schools inside the camp, UNRWA was forced to close them, causing significant damage.

Since the fighting began in late July, around 4,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the camp, seeking refuge in UNRWA facilities.