BEIRUT: Clashes broke out again on Thursday between Fatah and AnsarAllah in the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon.
“The cause of the renewed clashes was an explosive device placed near a Fatah checkpoint in the camp,” a Palestinian security official said. “The device exploded and we do not know whether there were casualties or not. This event has led to the resurgence of clashes.”
The escalation in violence inside the camp erupted a few hours after Lebanese President Michel Aoun assured a delegation from the neighboring town of Miye ou Miye that “the Lebanese army is maintaining security and stability in the area.”
More than a week ago, bloody clashes took place in the Mieh Mieh camp between the two Palestinian factions, killing two from Fatah and injuring 23. A cease-fire imposed by the Lebanese Army Directorate of Intelligence, with the cooperation of the two fighting parties, ended the clashes at the time.
The Palestinian security official described the move as “a lull in violence and not a solution to the problem in the camp.”
He said that the Fatah movement wants to end the situation in the camp, especially after it was informed that Hezbollah is no longer a supporter of the AnsarAllah movement, a fact confirmed to Arab News by Lebanese military sources, who mentioned that there were several dozen AnsarAllah militants in the camp.
A Lebanese military source said: “Lebanese army personnel are still in their positions at the entrances of the camp and not at forward positions, and they do not interfere in these clashes.”
The Lebanese army was stationed at forward positions in the Mieh Mieh camp last Wednesday, a move received well by the Palestinian factions after the bloody clashes between Fatah and AnsarAllah militants.
Officials took quick action on Thursday to prevent the deterioration of the security situation in the Mieh Mieh camp, in which power is divided over three parties — Fatah, Hamas and AnsarAllah.
Sidon MP Bahia Hariri communicated with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and, according to her media office, informed him of the exploding security situation inside the camp.
A Palestinian security source stressed that the AnsarAllah movement is responding to the call for a cease-fire. “There is also an appeal to the Fatah movement and we hope everyone abides by it.”
The Palestinian security source pointed out that the residents of the camp had already evacuated during the previous clashes in the same area and were still wary of returning to it.
Bahia Hariri made several phone calls for an urgent cease-fire. The officials with whom she communicated included the secretary general of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, Fathi Abu Al-Ardat, the political representative of Hamas in Lebanon, Ahmad Abdel-Hadi, the head of the Lebanese army intelligence in the south, Brig. Fawzi Hammadi, and Sidon intelligence officer Brig. Gen. Mamdouh Saab.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun told the Roman Catholic archbishop of Sidon and Deir El-Qamar, Archbishop Elie Bechara Haddad, who visited him with a delegation of the town’s priests, that the army’s actions on the ground would prevent any attack on the town and its Christian inhabitants.
President Aoun said: “The situation inside the camp is also being addressed to eliminate the causes that led to turmoil and prevent conflict between its inhabitants.”