Seven people, including civilians, were killed and 16 injured on Wednesday during new fighting between rival factions in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, according to a new report from the Palestinian Red Crescent.
On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and its Islamist rival Hamas pledged to maintain a fragile ceasefire declared Monday evening in Ain el-Heloué, the largest Palestinian camp in Lebanon, where the fighting was sparked on September 7 between small Islamist groups and Fatah fighters.
Hamas is not involved in the fighting.
“The fighting left seven people dead on Wednesday evening and 16 injured,” including civilians, in Aïn el-Heloué, the communications director of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Lebanon, Imad Hallak, told AFP.
According to an AFP correspondent in Saida, a town neighboring the camp, injured people were transported to two hospitals, one inside the camp and the other in Saida. Heavy machine gun and rocket fighting has blocked the road adjacent to the camp.
Dozens of Palestinian families have fled the violence.
The new toll brings to 16 the number of people killed and around a hundred injured, including civilians, since September 7, according to Mr. Hallak.
On Tuesday, senior Palestinian officials, including Azzam al-Ahmad of Fatah, the most powerful group in Aïn el-Heloué, and Moussa Abou Marzouk of Hamas, met at the Palestinian embassy in Beirut, according to a joint statement on Wednesday.
They underlined their "full commitment to consolidate the ceasefire" and to "continue coordination with the Lebanese State", according to the text.
But the fighting resumed Wednesday evening.
Under a long-standing agreement, the Lebanese army does not deploy to Palestinian camps where security is provided by Palestinian factions.
Mr. Ahmad discussed the situation with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and key Lebanese security officials on Wednesday.
Aïn el-Heloué is the largest of the 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon that were established after the arrival of refugees forced into exodus during the First Arab-Israeli War, sparked by the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Some 54,000 refugees are crowded there, including radical Islamists and people wanted by the courts.
According to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the latest fighting has displaced hundreds of families.
In late July and early August, 13 people died in similar clashes over five days. This violence was the most serious in years.
Mr. Abbas's Palestinian Authority is based in the occupied West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip.
09/14/2023 3:13:15 p.m. - Saida (Lebanon) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP