Beirut, 06 Rajab 1437/13 April 2016 (MINA) – A senior Fatah official was assassinated in a car explosion near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on Tuesday, in the latest violence to strike Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps in recent days.
Fatah security official Fathi Zeidan was killed and four of his escorts wounded when his car was blown up in Mieh Mieh refugee camp four kilometers east of Sidon. Lebanese media reported a bystander may also have been killed in the blast, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting Ma’an..
Subhi Abu Arab, Fatah’s military chief in Lebanon, said Fatah would not tolerate the assassination, while Munir al-Maqdah, the Palestinian head of joint security forces, said an investigation team had been formed and there was coordination with Lebanon “at the highest levels.”
He said that targeting Zeidan was targeting Palestinian refugee camps at large. “It is not acceptable that any side would take refugee camps as hostage,” he said.
Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon have become increasingly unstable in recent years, particularly Ain al-Helweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, which is also situated outside Sidon and has become a hotbed of extremism.
In the past two weeks, at least three Palestinians have been shot dead in gunfights between rival factions inside the camp, and last summer, violent clashes there displaced as many as 3,000 Palestinian refugees.
Mieh Mieh camp, meanwhile, has more than 5,250 registered refugees, and according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), these residents live in “extremely difficult” conditions.
The densely populated, overcrowded camps have been joined by thousands more Palestinian refugees displaced by Syria’s five-year civil
There are now more than 450,000 Palestinians registered in Lebanon with UNRWA, most of them living in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps and facing a variety of legal restrictions, including on their employment. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)