Clashes broke out across camps of Palestinian refugees on Monday; with many people were killed and injured, prompting Lebanese army commander to say tensions were “fabricated” and pledge to strike with iron fist.
The clashes broke out at Nahr al-Bared camp during the funeral of a Palestinian who died last Friday when the army opened fire during a spat at the shantytown.
Confrontations erupted after the mourners tried to attack army bases at the camp, setting fire to a military vehicle.
The clashes between Palestinians and the Lebanese army killed a Palestinian, and injured eight people, including three soldiers. Following Nahr al-Bared clashes, Palestinian groups blocked roads surrounding the Baddawi camp as they burned tires.
Few hours later, tensions were spread out at the entrance of the southern refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, killing one person, and wounding eleven others.
Media reports said that Ain el-Hilweh clashes erupted when Palestinian groups attacked army checkpoints at the southern refugee camp’s entrances and mainly al-Tahtani street.
For his part, army commander General Jean Qahwaji warned of ‘fabricated’ tensions and said that the army “will not allow to be deviated away from its mission.”
“Military units are performing their tasks on different Lebanese territories, but what is suspicious are security incidents being fabricated here and there,” Qahwaji told As-Safir newspaper.
“Every time the army [addresses an incident] in one place, another incident occurs in another. It is as if there is a maestro secretly [making the situation go as such]. The aim is clear. It is to keep the army busy in marginal incidents and therefore keep the situation tense,” the daily quoted Qahwaji as saying in remarks published on Tuesday.
He also said that protecting the country was everyone’s “responsibility,” and added that the army would strike with an iron fist anyone that attempts to prevent it from fulfilling its duties or tampers with the country’s stability and threatens citizens’ security.
‘Palestinians Pushed To Ignite Strife’
Meanwhile, a top Lebanese official revealed that he had received a warning from an Arab leader that Palestinian refugees could be pushed to ignite strife in Lebanon similar to the crisis in Syria.
According to al-Akhbar newspaper, the official contacted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who sent Azzam al-Ahmed as an envoy to Lebanon to cooperate with the Lebanese authorities in the attempt to thwart the plot.
The daily said that Salafi groups from different nationalities have recently entered Palestinian camps throughout Lebanon, mainly Ain el-Hilweh. It also said that the gunmen “are receiving military training and attending seminars that incite them to fight at a school in the camp’s al-Taware street.”