Lebanese army denies it is planning to enter Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp
The Lebanese army on Saturday denied that it was preparing for a military operation in the country’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, which recently saw heavy clashes between rival factions.
"Some social networking sites shared information, quoting a military source, about the army's preparation to carry out a military operation in Ain al-Hilweh camp," the army said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"It is important for the Army Command to deny this information, and to confirm that it is closely following the security situation in the camp. It also stresses the need to refer to its official statements exclusively to obtain information," the statement added.
تداول بعض مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي معلومات نقلًا عن مصدر عسكري حول تحضير الجيش لتنفيذ عملية عسكرية في مخيم عين الحلوة.— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) August 5, 2023
يهم قيادة الجيش أن تنفي صحة هذه المعلومات، وتؤكد أنها تتابع بدقة الوضع الأمني في المخيم. كما تشدد على ضرورة العودة إلى بياناتها الرسمية حصرًا للحصول على المعلومات pic.twitter.com/TeCZQ5it2W
Earlier this week, Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati reportedly warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call that Lebanese troops may intervene to stop the fighting.
Heavy street battles broke late last month in Ain al-Hilweh between Abbas' Fatah party and Islamist groups. The clashes erupted after Fatah accused the Islamists of gunning down a Fatah military general, Abu Ashraf al Armoushi, in the camp.
The fighting has killed at least 13 people, injured dozens more and displaced thousands from the camp, which is home to more than 50,000 people.
A fragile calm has reigned over the camp for the past three days.
Lebanese authorities generally do not enter Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps, which are controlled by a network of Palestinian factions. But there have been calls by some in Lebanon to enter the camp and disarm all militant groups, saying they posed a major threat to the country.
In 2007, the Lebanese army battled Islamist militants for months in the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, razing most of the camp in the process.