Beirut, Aug 3 (EFE).- A member of the Palestinian nationalist movement Fatah died after renewed armed clashes broke out on Wednesday night between rival Palestinian factions in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
Lebanese army soldiers stand guards at the entrance of Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp during clashes between supporters of the Fatah movement and rival groups, in Sidon, Lebanon, 01 August 2023. EFE-EPA/WAEL HAMZEH
At least 12 people have died and 40 been injured in clashes at the Ein el-Hilweh camp in Sidon, the largest Palestinian camp in Lebanon, since Saturday.
State-run National News Agency said that Wednesday night’s clashes were the most violent since the situation deteriorated five days ago.
There had been a decline in violence after a new ceasefire was reached on Tuesday night between Fatah and its rival Islamist factions, broken only sporadically throughout Wednesday.
Several of the projectiles fired in recent hours crossed the heavily fortified Ein el-Hilweh to reach various parts of Sidon, ANN said.
Although the camp is often the scene of violence between rival factions, fighting of this magnitude has not been seen since 2017.
The magnitude of the situation has sparked calls to demilitarize this and other Palestinian refugee camps in the Mediterranean country, in addition to raising concerns about the presence of heavy weapons in Ein el-Hilweh, where B7 rockets are being used.
“UNRWA shelters 600 displaced by armed clashes in the Ein El Hilweh Palestine refugee camp. They hope for a safe return and an end to frequent displacement due to recurrent internal conflict,” the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Dorothee Klaus, said on Twitter late Wednesday.
The clashes erupted late Saturday afternoon after gunmen attempted to assassinate an Islamist militant and have already left 12 people dead.
Among those killed during the outbreak of violence is a senior commander of the Palestinian nationalist Fatah movement, Brigadier General Abu Ashraf al Armushi, who was his organization’s National Security Officer for Sidon.
More than 470,000 Palestinian refugees are registered with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon, although slightly less than half are believed to still reside in the country. EFE