Bombings rock Lebanese refugee camp as fighers return from Iraq

Monday, April 28, 2003

NICOSIA The largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon has been rocked by a series of bombings.

At least four bombs exploded in the Ein Hilwe refugee camp near Sidon on overnight Saturday in the largest attack on the camp in months. Nobody was injured.

A lull in the usually violent camp had been maintained during the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to Middle East Newsline.

Palestinian insurgency leaders in Ein Hilwe said the bombings appeared to end a ceasefire that held until the fall of the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of Palestinian insurgents left Ein Hilwe for Iraq to fight for the Saddam regime and many were said to have returned over the past week.

In one attack, an unidentified group of assailants hurled grenades at a United Nations school. In response, Fatah fighters loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat emerged and opened fire.

Another grenade was hurled outside the home of a Fatah leader, identified as Abu Majid Sharqawi. Nobody was injured.

Palestinian sources said the feud in the camp has pitted Fatah, which for years has run Ein Hilwe, against Islamic challengers. The challengers are believed linked to Al Qaida through its Usbat Ansar wing.

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