SIDON, Lebanon: Three were wounded Thursday at shootout in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, which erupted after the son of a notorious Islamist was shot by a rival faction.
Youssef Bilal al-Arqoub was critically wounded when he was shot by Khaled Alaaeddine, also known as al-Khomeini, in the camp’s Safsaf neighborhood.
A Palestinian source told The Daily Star that Arqoub’s family responded by firing snipers in the neighborhood, leading to a shootout that left three wounded.
The incident happened just minutes after the new United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis concluded his first visit to Ain-al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.
Arqoub, believed to be affiliated with fundamentalist Islamist groups, is the son of Bilal Arqoub, a militant with ties to Al-Qaeda.
Alaaeddine is an official with the Islamist group Osbat al-Ansar. The Safsaf neighborhood is largely dominated by the camp’s Islamist factions, where Osbat al-Ansar in particular wields great influence.
The source said that Arqoub’s relationship with Osbat al-Ansar recently deteriorated and became very tense after Arqoub’s provocations.
Syrian national Kamal al-Dawoudi, who is a bodyguard of Islamic Jihad Movement head Sheikh Jamal Khattab, was among those wounded in the shootout.
During a phone call with The Daily Star, Khattab said his bodyguard had sustained a minor injury to his foot. He added that the camp’s factions were in talks to ease tensions.
After the shootout, students in nearby schools left Ain al-Hilweh through secure passages. They were taken to safety by Lebanese Army soldiers, who were waiting for them at the camp’s entrance.
In late 2018, Arqoub was involved in a dispute with a Fatah Movement member that left a civilian wounded as a result of a stray bullet from the gunfire.