Palestinian refugee camp hit by Israeli bombing raid
A humanitarian group in Lebanon supported by both religious and secular aid agencies has suspended work in a nursery it runs for Palestinian refugees after an Israeli missile attack last night.
Lebanese and Palestinian officials say an Israeli gunship shelled the Ein el-Hilweh camp on the outskirts of the town of Sidon, south of the capital Beirut, killing at least one person.
The Israeli military said the attack was an air strike that targeted a house in the camp used by Hezbollah guerrillas.
Ein el-Hilweh is the largest of Lebanon's 12 Palestinian refugee camps and is home to about 75,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants who were displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Some 350,000 Palestinians live in refugee camps in Lebanon that have developed over the years into shanty towns.
Kadija Abdelal, who works for the Al Najdeh Association, which supports Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and has projects in Ein el-Hilweh, said that staff and residents were afraid the camp would be bombed again.
ìWe have a kindergarten here for 83 children and today we were going to open it up and welcome more children from Lebanese families who have run from the fighting further south and who are also now staying at this camp,î Christian Aid reports Ms Abdelal as saying.
She continued: ìThe kindergarten is near where the missile struck and it has been damaged. So we have closed it.î
Ms Abdelal said that around 25 families who had sought sanctuary at the camp from the fighting further south had run away. ìNo one knows where they have gone,î she added.
The local aid worker also said that it is believed that two people died and nine were injured in the attack.
Al Najdeh Association is a Lebanese NGO that works in and around the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, responding primarily to the needs of women and children. It has projects in Beirut, Tripoli (north), Sidon (south), Tyre (south-south) and Beqaa (central north).
Al Najdeh programmes include vocational training, literacy, tutorials and English language classes, as well as social assistance through educational scholarships and health care for the women and their families.
Loans for income generating projects are also disbursed to eligible beneficiaries, while the pre-school education programme encompasses several kindergartens and a nursery,
Simultaneously, the projectsí consciousness raising community activities on basic human rights and civil rights are designed to contribute to society-building and community participation.
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