Lebanon News

Hezbollah decries Ain al-Hilweh murder of party-linked man

Fatah fighters attend a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Ain al-Hilweh, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: The murder of a member of the Hezbollah-linked Resistance Brigades in Sidon last week is considered an attack on the Lebanese resistance, the deputy head of the party’s executive council said Saturday.

“The assassination of Marwan Issa served to ignite sectarian strife in Ain al-Hilweh,” Nabil Qaouk said during a Saturday ceremony in Sidon commemorating his death.

“This crime stabs the back of the Lebanese resistance,” he added.

He said that the victim's blood will not go to waste, and the blood of the party’s youth will no longer be shed, calling on security forces in the camp to crackdown on the perpetrators of the crime

Hezbollah’s response comes almost one week after Issa was found dead in the trunk of a car in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, in southern Lebanon.

Issa was believed to have visited Ain al-Hilweh to complete an arms deal with Khaled Kaawash, a Palestinian, and Rabih Serhal, a Syrian.

The two are suspects in his killing and were handed over to the Lebanese government for investigation.

Fingers have also been pointed at members of al-Shabab al-Muslim, which is a jihadi coalition that includes Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam, many of whom reside in the Tawari neighborhood.

The incident in Ain al-Hilweh targeted the security of Palestinians before it targeted the security of the Lebanese resistance.

The Hezbollah official called on security forces in the camp to crack down on the “hotbeds of corruption” before they spread in the camp like “thyroid cancer.”

The Higher Palestinian Security Committee in Lebanon is preparing to implement a new security plan in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp following last weekend’s murder.

The plan includes erecting new checkpoints and strengthening the positions of the year-old joint security force.

The new security measures will focus on the camp’s Tahtani Street and the borders of the Tawari quarter, an adjacent neighborhood that sits between the Taamir neighborhood and the camp itself.

It is expected that the new security measures will be implemented on the ground within a few days, following a series of talks between the Higher Palestinian Security Committee and the Palestinian joint security force, in coordination with Lebanese Army Intelligence.

The head of the Palestinian joint security force in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Munir Maqdah, said Thursday that the security situation in Ain al-Hilweh would remain under control.

“Any person whose name comes out of the inquiry into Marwan Issa’s death will be asked to come in for investigation,” Maqdah said. “We have made a decision to strengthen all security forces’ positions in the camp in order to preserve both its security and that of neighboring areas.”

During a visit to Sidon MP Bahia Hariri, head of Palestinian National Security Sobhi Abu Arab said the probe into Issa’s death was ongoing.

Abu Arab informed Hariri of the recent incident Thursday, and reassured her that the situation in the camp was under control.

 

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