TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army shot dead at least two Palestinians in the north Lebanon refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared Monday after infiltrators attacked military posts, security sources said, adding that three soldiers and 10 Palestinians were also wounded.
The sources identified the two fatalities as Palestinians Amin Ghoneim and Fouad Muhieddine Loubaneh.
They said the infiltrators, who were among the funeral procession of 15-year-old Ahmad Qassem – killed last week after a violent standoff between locals and the Lebanese Army – attacked army posts in the camp, including one called the Samed post.
In a statement, the Lebanese Army said infiltrators in the camp began hurling stones and Molotov Coktails at the Samad post which led to the wounding of three soldiers.
Several others attempted to storm the post by force, the statement said, prompting soldiers to repel the attack using anti-riot weapons, tear gas and rubber bullets.
However, the statement added, after the infiltrators persisted in their attempts to gain access to the post, soldier resorted to live rounds which led to several casualties.
Parts of the posts were damaged as well as a military vehicle, the Army said.
Palestinians sources, speaking to The Daily Star, said the infiltrators intended to drive a wedge between the Lebanese Army and residents of the camp.
“We will not allow this to happen as we fully support the army,” one of the sources said.
The killing of Qassem Friday and the two Palestinians Monday has raised considerably tension in Nahr al-Bared, which in 2007 witnessed deadly clashes between the Lebanese Army and Islamist gunmen.
News of the clashes drew ire in several other Palestinian refugee camps in the country.
The National News Agency reported that residents of the Beddawi refugee camp, also near the northern port city of Tripoli, blocked roads inside the camp in protest of the unrest at Nahr al-Bared.
In south Lebanon, hundreds of residents at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, which witnessed protests Sunday over the killing of Qassem, burned tires and hurled Molotov Cocktails at the Lebanese Army inside the camp, forcing the military to seek cover at their posts and fire warning shots.
In its statement Monday, the Army warned “our Palestinian brothers not become victims of political exploitations and that their instigation against the army and pushing them into a confrontation with it will not lead to the implementation of what has been agreed on between this command and Palestinian factions, rather it will inflict severe damage in camp security and the interests of all its residents.”
Earlier in its statement, the Army said the clashes at the camp had come following attempts between the army and Palestinian sides to “resolve the consequences and causes of the incident Friday at one of the army checkpoints in the camp,” in an apparent reference to Qassem’s killing.
It said attempts had been under way to loosen security measures at the camp.