BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army Tuesday attempted to deploy heavily inside the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp, but halted its operation near the camp's entrance when members of the Fatah Movement refused to evacuate designated areas.
The Army began entering Mieh Mieh at 11 a.m. and carrying out patrols; it also started dispatching tanks and deploying more than 100 soldiers into the camp. The operation followed a mission last Thursday, when members of the Army went 25 meters into Mieh Mieh for observation purposes, but later retreated.
According to security sources in the surrounding city of Sidon, last-minute obstacles prompted the Army to halt Tuesday's deployment once it reached the headquarters of the Palestinian factions, which are near the camp's entrance.
A separate source confirmed that the deployment had been temporarily suspended, and added that this was because Fatah had refused to evacuate two areas near one of the Army's designated deployment sites.
Tuesday’s operation followed heavy clashes that erupted in the south Lebanon camp on Oct. 15 between Fatah and Ansar Allah. The violence left two Fatah members dead and more than 20 wounded before a cease-fire was reached, and caused many families to flee the camp.
Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are largely off-limits to Lebanese security services, based on the 1969 Cairo agreement, which placed the responsibility for the camps' safety situation on Palestinian security forces. Even though the accord has since been annulled, the security arrangement has stayed in effect.