At least four people, including a civilian, were killed in clashes on Saturday in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where fighting pits Islamist groups against fighters from Fatah, the main Palestinian organization.
The violence broke out on Thursday. At least four people, including a civilian, were killed on Saturday September 9 during clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Aïn el-Heloue, in southern Lebanon, with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati criticizing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for this new violence.
Since Thursday evening, fighting has pitted small Islamist groups against fighters from Fatah, the main Palestinian organization, in this camp close to the city of Saida. Thirteen people had already died during similar clashes over several days at the end of July and beginning of August.
After a relatively calm night, fighting resumed on Saturday, according to an AFP correspondent in Saida who heard sounds of automatic weapons and rockets.
They caused the death of “two people from Fatah” and an Islamist, while a “civilian died after receiving a stray bullet” outside the camp, reported the official Lebanese news agency NNA , also reporting dozens of injuries.
A public hospital located next to the camp has transferred all its patients to other establishments due to the risk, its director, Ahmad al-Samadi, told AFP.
Mahmoud Abbas arrested
“What is happening does not serve the Palestinian cause at all and is a serious offense to the Lebanese state” and the city of Saida, Najib Mikati told Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office. Lebanese minister.
Najib Mikati stressed “the priority of ending military operations” and the need to “cooperate with the Lebanese security forces to resolve tensions”, according to the press release posted on X (ex-Twitter).
The Lebanese army, which under an agreement does not deploy to Palestinian camps where security is provided by Palestinian factions, called on “all parties involved in the camp to stop the fighting.”
She added to take “the necessary measures (…) to put an end to the clashes which endanger the lives of innocent people”.
Dozens of families have fled the camp since Thursday evening, taking bags filled with basic necessities such as bread, water and medicine, according to an AFP correspondent.
One camp resident, Mohammed Badran, 32, said he preferred to “sleep outside on the street” with his wife and children rather than return home due to the fighting. “It’s hell,” he said at a mosque in Saida where he found refuge with other families.
Tents to house the displaced
“The municipality is cooperating with the Red Cross to install 16 tents initially,” Mustafa Hijazi, an official in the crisis unit at the municipality, told AFP. “More would need to be installed to accommodate around 250 people,” he added.
The fighting focused on a school complex belonging to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a source within the camp management who spoke on condition of anonymity told AFP. .
The UN called on armed groups on Friday to “immediately” evacuate schools belonging to UNRWA.
Ain el-Heloue is the largest of 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon that were established after the arrival of refugees forced into exodus during the first Arab-Israeli war, which began after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Some 54,000 refugees are piled up there, including radical Islamists and people wanted by the courts to escape the Lebanese authorities.
The violence that shook the camp at the end of July, for five days, was the most serious for years. They broke out following the death of a member of a small Islamist group, and five members of Fatah, including a military leader, were subsequently killed in an ambush.
Fatah, a historic Palestinian organization, remains the most powerful formation in Aïn el-Heloue but its influence is contested by the Islamist organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Source: France 24