BEIRUT: Hezbollah condemned in a statement Thursday the attempted assassination of a Sunni Sheikh in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh in the coastal city of Sidon, saying the crime was intended to provoke strife.
“Meddling hands insist on committing crimes, seeking to sow strife and to spread discord inside our communities to serve the enemies of our nation,” the statement said. “These hands have now tried to assassinate an official in the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, Sheikh Arsan Sleiman, causing tension in the camp."
“This assassination attempt is condemned since it targeted a scholar and it happened in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, in light of delicate and difficult conditions that both the Lebanese and Palestinian people are suffering from.”
Hezbollah called on Palestinians in the camps to excercise self restraint and remain vigilant against “attempts to provoke strife among them.”
Sleiman heads a charity linked to Al-Ahbash, an Islamist group that was active during Syria’s wardship of Lebanon, and is a relative of former Fatah official Mahmoud Issa, better known as “Lino,” who has been the target of several assassination attempts inside the camp.
The sheikh was shot Wednesday as he was leaving a memorial service for Tarek Safadi, an aid worker who died in the crossfire during clashes at the Mieh Mieh camp on the outskirts of Sidon Monday.
Monday’s clashes broke out when members of Ansar Allah, a Palestinian group with links to Hezbollah, shot and killed former Fatah commander Ahmad Rashid Adwan.