Palestinians now fight in Lebanon....
A new battleground opens...
A row between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a clan affiliated with Fatah has turned violent as both sides claim control over a mosque in a Beirut suburb.
The Furqan Mosque, located in the southern suburb of the Lebanese capital, has become a new battleground for the intra-Palestinian struggle.
Two people were lightly wounded in a brawl between the parties on Tuesday, according to Lebanese news reports.
Tensions between the two sides began around two weeks ago when The Islamic Jihad decided to take control of the mosque, which was renovated with charity money the organization collected.
The Al-Ashwah family, which is affiliated with the Fatah movement, was consequently barred from running the mosque even though they have controlled it since the building was constructed on their land.
The brawl is highlighting broader inter-factional differences between the various Palestinian political divisions.
“Within the camps you always have competition between the factions,” Sahar Atrache, an analyst for the International Crisis Group in Beirut told The Media Line. “Mainly [it’s] between what’s called the PLO and the Tahaluf, which is an alliance of factions that includes the Islamic Jihad, Hamas and several other factions which are, for the most part, pro-Syrian.”
“Most of the camps have conflicts between the two sides,” she continued. “In some cases there’s a conflict between Hamas and Fatah and in other cases it’s broader. Each side or faction is trying to control the camp or part of the camp.”
The conflict in Burj Al-Barajneh was taken up a notch when members of the Al-Ashwah family set fire to Islamic Jihad offices in the camp.
On Tuesday morning masked and armed men belonging to Islamic Jihad proceeded to surround the mosque and open fire in order to seize it by force.
Worshipers inside the mosque fled with the imam (religious cleric) to a smaller mosque inside the camp.
Atrache said political and family affiliations were often interlocked in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and it was hard to separate the two factors.