Friday, August 01, 2008

the unending civil war

Lebanon has fallen off the radar for most of the west even as unrest intensifies in a series of battle zones with fraction firing on fraction. The Jerusalem Post
A military commander of the Fatah movement was critically wounded Tuesday in a bomb explosion in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Lebanese and Palestinian security officials said. Talal Sleim was heading to his office in the Ein el-Hilweh camp, on the outskirts of the southern city of Sidon, when a roadside bomb exploded nearby, the officials said.

Sleim, a 43-year-old Palestinian, was seriously wounded and was rushed to a Sidon hospital outside the teeming camp, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. A bodyguard was also lightly wounded, they said.

After news of the explosion spread, Fatah guerrillas exchanged machine gun fire with Palestinian gunmen of the Jund al-Sham group, which follows the extremist ideology of al-Qaida. Tension ran high in the camp with scores of Palestinian families, fearing wide-scale fighting between the two factions, fleeing their homes to safer areas outside the shantytown, witnesses said. Tuesday's bombing came more than a week after three Palestinian militants, including a Jund al-Sham military commander, Shehadeh Jawhar, were killed in clashes with Fatah guerrillas in the camp. Jund al-Sham gunmen vowed to take revenge for Jawhar's killing.

What strikes me as most peculiar is why no one thinks its odd for Fatah to have a ‘military’ commander in a Lebanese refugee camp – to what purpose or end? But I digress, and the violence is not contained to purely Palestinian groups in Lebanese refugee camps. The Jerusalem Post:
Gunmen attacked a military post in the eastern Lebanese province of Hermel early Wednesday morning, killing a soldier and wounding another, a security official said. Soldiers fired back at the attackers who fled, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Then there were last weekend’s clashes in Tripoli. AFP
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AFP) — Hundreds of people were still homeless on Sunday after the latest bout of deadly sectarian fighting in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli.

"The army has barred residents from returning to some areas because there are unexploded grenades from the fighting and the troops are defusing them one by one," a security official told AFP.

Army reinforcements were sent to Tripoli on Saturday after militants from the rival Sunni Muslim and Alawite (Shiite) communities agreed to halt clashes that erupted early Friday, killing nine people and wounding dozens more. Fighters battled with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons causing massive damage to property and sending hundreds of people fleeing for cover from the neighbouring districts of Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.

On Sunday, the army shot and wounded a suspect during a shootout in Bab el-Tebbaneh, the security official said, adding that the gunman had been wanted for opening fire on troops on Saturday and was now in their custody. But he said the situation had been calm up throughout the day until then.

A source from the Future Movement of Sunni leader Saad Hariri said almost 2,200 families fled their homes in mainly Sunni district of Bab al-Tebbaneh and the mostly Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen. Tripoli municipality chief Mohammed Rashid Jamali told AFP that 1,500 people were holed up in eight schools across the city waiting to return home.

No doubt when the various fractions are fully re-armed and up to snuff - the civil war will again commence in earnest.

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