Lebanon downplays the security situation at the Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp after UAE, Saudi Arabia, and more issue travel restrictions
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said there was no cause for “concern or panic” about the country’s security situation, after the UAE and Saudi Arabia, among other nations, issued new travel bans and warnings.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UK, and Germany updated their travel warnings amid clashes between rival armed groups in the South Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp of Ain Al Hilweh which left at least 12 dead.
Mikati said in a statement that he spoke with his security chiefs and assessed that the situation “does not call for concern or panic,” adding that there has been “significant progress” in resolving the violence in Ain Al Hilweh, where at least 13 people have been killed in fighting.
Foreign minister Abdullah Bou Habib has been tasked with reassuring Arab nations that their citizens were safe in Lebanon, the statement said.
The UAE on Sunday banned travel to Lebanon for Emirati citizens, advising them not to travel to the country due to the security situation. UAE citizens were urged to contact the designated hotline 0097180024 in the event of emergencies and were encouraged to register for the “Twajudi” service provided by the foreign ministry to assist them abroad.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported that around 2,000 individuals out of the approximately 50,000 residents in Ain Al Hilweh had been forced to leave due to the ongoing clashes between factions within the expansive camp.
Prompted by the killing of a Fatah commander and his four companions on July 30th, a series of clashes extended through the week. Militants engaged in the conflict by firing rocket-propelled grenades and strategically placing snipers in the densely populated area.
Ain Al Hilweh constitutes the largest among the 12 Palestinian refugee camps within the nation, providing shelter for up to 250,000 refugees, according to UNRWA.