MIYEH MIYEH, Lebanon (AFP) – Two people were wounded in a night-time gunfight between militants from the Palestinian movement Fatah and their Hamas rivals in a refugee camp in Lebanon on Thursday.
The clash erupted in the Miyeh Miyeh camp near the main southern coastal city of Sidon at about 1 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) and raged for about 90 minutes before calm was restored, a Palestinian source said.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s secular Fatah faction has been in open conflict with Hamas since the Islamist movement’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.
The fighting broke out over a dispute between a Hamas militant and a Fatah rival over electricity supplies to a sector of the camp, the source said.
“It was an isolated incident that was rapidly brought under control,” said Munir Maqdah, the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s official in southern Lebanon.
“We don’t want the events of Gaza to happen in the Lebanese camps.”
Abu Mahmud, a Hamas official in Miyeh Miyeh, accused Fatah of “provocation” saying its supporters had ripped up posters of the late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who were both assassinated by Israel.
The two injured men, who suffered bullet wounds, were identifed as a Fatah militant and a Lebanese who lives next to the camp.
There are fears of violence in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps where hardline groups have gained influence as impoverished residents despair of ever seeing an end to their plight.
The Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon was the scene of a deadly 15-week standoff between Al-Qaeda inspired Islamist fighters and the army before troops crushed the militants in a final assault about a month ago.
The camps, which house well over half of the country’s more than 400,000 refugees, are controlled by Palestinian factions and have generally been off-limits to the Lebanese army for decades.