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Lebanon warns Palestinian president that troops could intervene if clashes proceed in refugee camp

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SIDON, Lebanon — Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister referred to as the Palestinian president Thursday to demand an finish to the unstable scenario within the nation’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, warning that Lebanese troops could intervene to cease the preventing that has left dozens {dead} and wounded.

Najib Mikati’s name with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas got here after days of sporadic clashes between Palestinian factions within the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp close to the southern port metropolis of Sidon.

Mikati referred to as the preventing a “flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty” and stated it was unacceptable for the warring Palestinian teams to “terrorize the Lebanese, particularly the individuals of the south who’ve embraced the Palestinians for a few years,” in line with a press release launched by his workplace.

His name got here as cautious calm returned to the camp and surrounding space Thursday after an evening of renewed clashes.

Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, which is dwelling to about 50,000 individuals, has been rocked since Sunday by fierce battles between Abbas’ Fatah occasion and Islamist teams Jund al Sham and Shabab al Muslim.

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Fatah has accused the Islamists of gunning down a Fatah navy basic, Abu Ashraf al Armoushi, within the camp on Sunday.

The preventing has thus far killed greater than a dozen individuals, wounded dozens extra, and displaced hundreds.

Within the metropolis of Sidon, outdoors the camp’s borders, round 100 camp residents who had fled the clashes have been sheltering in a close-by mosque on Thursday. Sheikh Ahmad Nader stated that round 2,000 individuals had sheltered on the mosque for the reason that starting of the clashes.

“We’re uninterested in all of this,” stated Mohamed Sabakh, an Ein el-Hilweh resident staying within the mosque along with his household. “We now have kids.”

Even outdoors the camp, Sabakh stated, they really feel trapped by the preventing.

“Go searching you, all of the shops are closed. Persons are locked down of their homes. There’s nowhere to get bread even, all of the roads are closed.”

Dr. Riad Abu al-Einein, head of Al Hamshari Hospital close to the camp, instructed The Related Press that the hospital had acquired the physique of an individual killed in Wednesday night time’s clashes, bringing the entire quantity killed within the battles to 13, with dozens extra wounded.

If the scenario continues, he stated, “it is going to have an effect on not solely the households within the camp however the entire individuals in Sidon, particularly as there have been a number of rocket-propelled grenades and gunshots hit residential areas within the metropolis,” he stated.

Maher Shabaita, head of Fatah within the Sidon area, confirmed that one of many group’s members was killed in Wednesday night time’s clashes.

He stated Fatah fighters had defended themselves after the Islamist teams attacked one among Fatah’s facilities within the camp, breaking a cease-fire settlement reached Monday, in what he described as a part of a “mission to destroy the camp and rework the camp from a camp of militants, probably a camp of terrorists.”

Palestinian factions within the camp have shaped an investigative committee to find out who was chargeable for Armoushi’s killing and hand them over to the Lebanese judiciary for trial, he stated.

The Lebanese military typically does not enter the Palestinian camps, that are managed by a community of Palestinian factions, and hasn’t taken an energetic position within the battle in Ein el-Hilweh.

In 2007, the Lebanese military battled Islamist extremists in one other Palestinian camp, Nahr al-Bared in north Lebanon, razing many of the camp within the course of.

Elias Farhat, a retired Lebanese military basic who’s now a researcher in navy affairs, stated it was unlikely that the military would intervene within the Ein el-Hilweh clashes, as a result of — not like in Nahr al-Bared —the combatants have not instantly focused the military.

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