NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (AFP) -Lebanese soldiers fought fierce battles on Friday with Islamists holed up inside a Palestinian refugee camp, with eyewitnesses reporting fires raging in a small area still controlled by the militants.
An AFP correspondent saw two Katyusha rockets being fired from within Nahr al-Bared camp north of Tripoli by the militants, with one projectile hitting a nearby power station.
Deir Ammar, one of the main power stations in northern Lebanon, had already been hit by several rockets on Thursday, causing damage and forcing the facility to shut down.
“The station is still out of service and a new rocket hit the facility today,” Marie Tawk, a spokeswoman for the state-owned electricity company, told AFP.
“I don’t know how extensive the damage is but the situation has become very dangerous for employees,” she added.
Tawk said production at the 400-megawatt facility has halted completely, leading to six-hour power cuts countrywide except in Beirut’s administrative zone.
The conflict at Nahr al-Bared has caused severe electricity shortages across Lebanon in recent weeks because ships have been unable to deliver oil to Deir Ammar.
Most of the camp’s 31,000 residents have fled since the beginning of the fighting, which has killed at least 200 people, including 128 soldiers.
The only civilians remaining are around 60 women and children related to the Fatah al-Islam fighters. The army has accused the Islamists of using them as human shields, but other sources have said they are staying willingly.