Two Syrians dead in Lebanon refugee camp fire

A young refugee looks clothes following a fire that ripped through a refugee camp in Lebanon. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Two Syrians dead in Lebanon refugee camp fire

  • he fire in the northeastern town of Yammouneh early Monday killed a 46-year-old man and a young boy
  • Around 1.5 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon from the seven-year civil war raging next door

YAMMOUNEH, Lebanon: A fire ripped through a refugee camp in Lebanon on Monday killing two Syrians, including a boy, and burning nearly two dozen tents, a local official said.

Around 1.5 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon from the seven-year civil war raging next door, with many living in camps in the Bekaa Valley in the east of the country.

The fire in the northeastern town of Yammouneh early Monday “killed a 46-year-old man as well as a boy aged seven or eight,” said Deputy Mayor Hussein Shreif.

It “burnt down 23 of 70 tents in the camp,” he said, adding it was not immediately clear what started the fire. But after the initial spark, “the explosion of a fuel container in one of the tents caused the fire to spread,” he said.

Security forces and a UN team were dispatched to the area of the camp, he said.

One of the refugees said: “At 3 a.m., we heard screaming. Then we saw flames (spreading) and we couldn’t put them out.”

An AFP photographer saw people milling amid the cinders of former tents, nothing remaining of them but a few metal poles.

Near a field of red earth, a young girl in a green hoodie picked through a pile of clothes that had survived the fire.

Lebanon’s national news agency, NNA, said “civil defense put out the fire with difficulty due to the low visibility, thick fog and smoke.”

Fires have often erupted in Syrian refugee camps, where many depend on international aid for their survival.

Security forces also regularly sweep down on the informal settlements.

On Wednesday, further to the east in the area of Arsal, the army detained hundreds of Syrians, including over no or expired identity documents.

Since the start of the year, thousands of Syrians have gone home to their country, according to an AFP tally, in returns coordinated between the authorities in Beirut and Damascus.

Lebanese authorities waive late fines for those whose residency papers have expired if they agree to return to Syria.

The Syrian conflict has killed more than 360,000 people and forced millions from their homes since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011


Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

Updated 14 December 2018
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Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

  • The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians
  • Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third

AMMAN: Israel was accused on Thursday of humiliating Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by placing Ramallah on virtual lockdown amid a 24-hour outbreak of violence in which five people died.

The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians suspected of earlier attacks. Salah Barghouti, 29, was accused of shooting seven Israelis on Sunday at a bus station near the Ofra settlement. Ashraf Naalwa, 23, shot two Israelis dead in the Barkan industrial zone settlement in October.

Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third when he opened fire at the Ofra bus station.

Israeli forces chased the gunman into Ramallah, where they set up road blocks, launched raids and placed the town under virtual siege. In the hunt for the gunman, a Palestinian was shot dead in Al-Bireh neighborhood of Ramallah.

Abbas Zaki, a leading Fatah official, told Arab News Palestinian frustration was being fueled by Israel. “They barged into Ramallah in violation of existing agreements and came very close to the home of President Abbas.

“What more do people need to see to let them give up on a process when Israelis are willing to humiliate in such a way the father of Palestinian peace?”

Abbas himself condemned the anti-Israeli attacks but blamed Israeli raids as a potential cause.

“The climate created by the policy of repeated intrusions into the cities, the provocations against the sovereignty of the president and the lack of a horizon for peace are what led to this unacceptable violence that we condemn and reject,” he said.