BEIRUT: Tensions are running high Saturday at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon following clashes between the Lebanese Army and camp residents that left two killed and nine wounded.
The army said in a statement that the clash began after soldiers at a checkpoint located inside the camp detained a Palestinian motorcyclist who did not have identification papers.
The incident prompted several people to gather around the checkpoint and throw rocks at military personnel. Residents also blocked roads leading to the camp with burning tires, the army said.
The statement added that when soldiers attempted to reopen the roads, residents clashed with them. The army did not specify the number of causalities in the incident but security sources said two people were killed and nine others were wounded.
The army arrested a number of Palestinians suspected of inciting violence and reopened the roads leading to the camp.
Arkan Badr, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine representative in the north, issued a statement Saturday following a meeting with Palestinian factions in the camp affirming that they are not hostile to the army and that they seek good relations.
“The participants [in the meeting] were surprised and condemned the way army personnel in the camp dealt with the peaceful protesters and shot randomly, leading to the martyrdom of Ahmad Qassem, a passerby with no relation to the protest,” the statement said.
The statement asked the army to take the necessary measures to calm tensions via creating an investigative committee.
“[The participants] asked the army to lift the military and security blanket [imposed on] the camp, eliminate the system of permits and open the camp to its Lebanese and Palestinian surroundings,” the statement added.
In 2007, deadly clashes between the army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Nahr al-Bared camp lasted three months and led to the death of 170 Lebanese soldiers, at least 120 militants and more than 200 civilians. Following the clashes, the Army took full control of the camp.