BEIRUT (AFP) – The killing of a top Palestine Liberation Organisation official in Lebanon could be a “settling of scores” between rival factions, Lebanese newspapers said on Tuesday.
Kamal Medhat, the PLO’s number two in Lebanon, was killed in a roadside bombing outside the Mieh Mieh refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Monday along with three other people, including two of his bodyguards.
“Mieh Mieh: a fratricide?” said the French language L’Orient-Le Jour newspaper.
As-Safir newspaper, which is close to the Syrian-backed Lebanese opposition, echoed the view.
“Although all Palestinian factions were quick to denounce the crime and blame Israel and its agents, security officials believe that Medhat was killed in a settling of scores,” it said.
Medhat, 58, was also a former aide to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and a former intelligence chief for the mainstream Fatah movement in Lebanon.
According to As-Safir he was in charge of reconciling rival Palestinian groups in Lebanon, mainly in Ain al-Helweh, the largest of 12 refugee camps and scene of frequent violence between Fatah and the Islamist movement Hamas.
“Was it a message from abroad or the work of a Palestinian faction?” said An-Nahar newspaper, which is close to Lebanon’s ruling Western-backed parliamentary majority.
“The victim was known for being one of the key figures who strove to calm tensions and reconcile Palestinian factions,” it added.
Tension between Fatah and Islamist groups inside Lebanon camps has run high in the past year, with clashes and attacks leaving at least 12 dead.