2 wounded as Palestinians clash in northern Lebanon

Gunbattle between Fatah Islam and Fatah Uprising starts after an argument in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.

Nahr al-Bared camp  (photo credit: )
Nahr al-Bared camp
(photo credit: )
Rival Palestinian factions clashed in a refugee camp in northern Lebanon, shaking the camp with explosions and wounding at least two gunmen, officials at the camp said. Lebanon's state-run news agency said as many as five were wounded in the battle. The gunbattle Monday between Fatah Islam and Fatah Uprising started after an argument between members of the two groups in the Nahr al-Bared camp near the northern city of Tripoli, said Palestinian officials in the camp. The fighting lasted less than 30 minutes, wounding a fighter from each group, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The Fatah Islam member was seriously wounded. State-run National News Agency said the clashes left at least five people wounded, two of them members of Fatah Islam. It added that officials of Palestinian factions were holding meetings to try end the tension. But within several hours, clashes resumed in the evening. Residents said they could hear explosions, though the cause was not known. The situation has been tense in the camp, which is home to about 30,000 Palestinians, since Lebanon's Interior Minister Hassan Sabei announced last week the arrests of four Syrian members of the little-known Fatah Islam group - an offshoot of the Damascus-based Palestinian Fatah Uprising. Those arrested, Sabei said, had confessed to being behind the Feb. 13 bombings of two buses northeast of Beirut that killed three people and wounded 20. Hours after Sabei's announcement, Lebanese troops took security measures around the camp setting up checkpoints and searching every vehicle leaving or entering the area. Sabei also blamed Syria's intelligence agency in the bombings and claimed that Fatah Islam's alleged split from the Damascus-based group was a cover and that the two were essentially the same. Fatah Islam reportedly split last year from Fatah Uprising, itself a 1980s splinter of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah party. Fatah Islam denied Sabei's bombings charges, as did Fatah Uprising and the Syrian government.