SIDON, Lebanon: Bilal al-Arqoub, a notorious Islamist, was killed Sunday morning in Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp during a gunfight with rival Islamist forces.
Palestinian sources in the camp told The Daily Star that the fighting broke out between Arqoub and his supporters and members of Osbat al-Ansar and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the early hours of Sunday morning in the camp’s Manshieh area.
Shortly afterward, the sound of celebratory gunfire rang out across the camp as minarets announced his death. Videos posted to social media showed crowds of men cheering and jumping with joy at the news.
Two of Arqoub’s sons, Youssef and Osama, were arrested and handed over to Army Intelligence, while a third, Mohammad, was able to escape.
The situation in the camp is now calm and Arqoub’s body has been handed over to the Lebanese authorities.
On Saturday, Arqoub had gone off the radar after members of Osbat al-Ansar and the Fatah Movement raided his house in the camp’s Ras al-Ahmar area.
He had been accused of the Friday murder of the brother of a member of Osbat al-Ansar.
Hussein Alaaeddine was shot by an unmasked gunman Friday during a demonstration for Palestinian rights in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp. He was seriously wounded, and later died in a Sidon hospital.
He is set to be buried Sunday in the Darab al-Sim cemetery just south of the camp.
Alaaeddine’s family claimed that a member of the Arqoub family had killed Alaaeddine out of revenge for a previous altercation.
In March, Hussein’s brother Khaled, a member of Osbat al-Ansar, allegedly shot and critically wounded Bilal al-Arqoub’s son Youssef in the camp’s Safsaf neighborhood, which is dominated largely by the camp’s Islamist factions.