At least 6 dead in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

At least 6 dead in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

At least 6 dead in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

At least six people were killed and seven were wounded in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, Palestinian officials said.

UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, put the death toll at six, and Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said two children were among those wounded.

The Palestinian officials, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the clashes broke out after an unknown gunman tried to kill Islamist militant Mahmoud Khalil, killing a companion of his instead.

Later, Islamist militants shot and killed a Palestinian military general from the Fatah group and three escorts as they were walking through a parking lot, another Palestinian official told AP.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that a mortar shell hit a military barracks outside the camp and wounded one soldier, whose condition is stable. Military commandos deployed near the camp's entrances as clashes continued into the night.

UNRWA said two of its schools that serve some 2,000 students were damaged in the fighting. It said it suspended all its operations in Ein el-Hilweh.

Fatah in a statement condemned the killing of its security official, saying the attack was part of a “bloody scheme that targets the security and stability of our camps.” It vowed to hold the “perpetrators accountable.”

In Ramallah, the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement decrying violence in a camp for Palestinian refugees.

“No one is allowed to intimidate our people and tamper with their security,” it said. "We support what the Lebanese government is doing to impose law and order, and we affirm our commitment to Lebanon’s sovereignty, including the Palestinian refugee camps, and maintaining security and the rule of law.”

Late in the day, the factions said in a joint statement that they had agreed to a ceasefire during a mediation meeting hosted by the Lebanese Shiite Amal movement and militant Hezbollah group in Sidon. 

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, condemned the clashes. “We call on the Palestinian leadership to cooperate with the army to control the security situation and hand over those meddling with security to the Lebanese authorities," Mikati said in his statement.