SIDON, Lebanon: All fighters have been pulled from the streets of the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, in the wake of deadly clashes between the Fatah Movement and Ansar Allah, a security source said Tuesday evening.
A reporter from The Daily Star joined a tour lead by Fatah and Hamas Movement representatives that succeeded in pulling Fatah’s fighters from the camp’s streets, with Ansar Allah fighters withdrawing shortly thereafter.
Jihad Taha, a deputy political official of Hamas in Lebanon, said the movement was working to fully implement the cease-fire reached earlier in the day and maintain stability and security in the camp.
The cease-fire was announced by Maj. Gen. Sobhi Abu Arab, head of the Palestinian National Security Forces, after a meeting between Lebanese Army Intelligence and representatives of Ansar Allah, Fatah and Hamas in Sidon.
Clashes broke out at around 10 a.m. as both Fatah and Ansar Allah fighters began firing rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at each other. Two men, identified as Fatah members, were killed and around 20 more were wounded since the morning, according to multiple sources.
The Hamas Movement's political official in Sidon, Ayman Shanaa, told The Daily Star that a member of the group, 60-year-old Ibrahim Salameh, was taken to a hospital in critical condition after being injured in an explosion from a hand grenade while patrolling the camp in the morning.
The security source added that the Fatah Movement launched more than one attack on Ansar Allah’s strongholds in response to advances by the group.
The clashes also caused a number of houses and cars to catch fire and inflicted damages to electricity and water networks around the camp.
The Palestinian Red Crescent, the NGO Shifaa and the medical department of the Islamic University of Lebanon were offering medical services to sick residents were had remained and were trapped in the camp.
All schools in Sidon have been closed for the day and traffic came to a standstill in some neighborhoods.
Tuesday’s round of fighting came after a cease-fire was reached throughout the night following fighting on Monday. At least six militants and 10 others were wounded by the end of the night, causing residents to flee amid sounds of machine-gun fire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, the security source had said.
Citing camp officials, the Associated Press reported that most of the wounded combatants were Fatah members. Fatah, as a major contingent of the joint Palestinian security forces, oversees security in Mieh Mieh, where clashes are uncommon.
The fighting started with a dispute between a Fatah member, Ahmad al-Abed, known as “Potato,” and Ansar Allah’s Mohammad Hussein, known as “Albi."
An official from the Hamas movement in Sidon had told The Daily Star that the fighting had stopped around 9 p.m. and that the armed men had been pulled from the camp’s streets.