Heavy clashes have reignited at the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, shattering a brief period of cease-fire following a day of relative calm. The conflict has escalated between rival Palestinian factions, with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party facing off against Islamist groups. Accused of the assassination of Palestinian military general Abu Ashraf al Armoushi on Sunday.
According to Dr Riad Abu al-Einein, head of Al Hamshari Hospital, the renewed clashes on Wednesday night resulted in several wounded but no immediate reports of deaths. In the preceding days, the hospital recorded a grim toll of 12 fatalities and 56 people wounded during the violent confrontations.
A Palestinian official within the camp, speaking on condition of anonymity due to lack of Lebanon authorization. Revealed that the latest flare-up saw two fatalities and 15 injuries as a result of a rocket attack by the Islamist group Jund al-Sham targeting a Fatah position. The confrontations have predominantly involved Jund al-Sham and another Islamist group, Shabab al-Muslim. While other factions such as Hamas remained uninvolved.
The ongoing strife has prompted a mass exodus of more than 2,000 people in search of safety since the clashes began, as reported by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA.
Diplomatic Efforts to Restore Peace
To contain the escalating violence and restore peace, Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Dabbour, held a crucial meeting on Wednesday with Lebanese army commander Gen. Joseph Aoun to discuss developments in the camps and explore possibilities for a new cease-fire.
The eruption of hostilities traces back to an incident on Saturday when an unidentified gunman attempted to assassinate Palestinian militant Mahmoud Khalil but inadvertently killed his companion. Matters escalated into full-blown clashes on Sunday when Islamic militants gunned down General Armoushi and three escorts while they were walking through a parking lot, as revealed by a Palestinian official requesting anonymity to protect their identity.
The situation remains highly precarious, and international observers are closely monitoring developments in the region. Concerns persist over the potential for further escalation and the safety of the civilian population caught in the crossfire. Efforts to reach a peaceful resolution and establish a sustainable cease-fire are of utmost importance to prevent further loss of life and instability in the already volatile region.