Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon becoming less of a hotbed for militancy
There are no shortage of potential suspects behind Sahmarani’s death. Among them is Fatah, which has regularly clashed with Jund ash-Sham militants since the group first emerged in 2004; Lebanese military intelligence, which wanted Sahmarani for attacks he led against Lebanese army checkpoints in 2007; and possibly rivals within the small jihadist community in the camp.
Still, Sahmarani’s death further reduces the influence of the dwindling band of jihadist militants remaining in Ain al-Hilweh. The camp’s largest jihadist group, Esbat al-Ansar – listed by the United States as a terrorist organization – has toned down its militancy since forging a tacit understanding with one-time rival Fatah to help keep stability in the camp.
That leaves a few isolated jihadists under threat of arrest or attack by Fatah and the Lebanese security authorities while living under the watchful eye of Esbat al-Ansar.
Crackdown on Ain al-Hilweh radicals
Sahmarani was living in a small quarter of the camp controlled by Esbat al-Ansar faction. The group gained notoriety in the 1990s for killing a prominent rival Islamic cleric in Beirut and fatally shooting four Lebanese judges in a court in Sidon.