Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Palestinian Official Killed in Lebanon

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 23 marzo, 2009

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A senior Palestinian official was killed Monday along with two colleagues and a driver when a roadside bomb detonated next to their convoy as they left a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, security officials said.

The Palestinian official, Kamal Midhat, was the deputy leader in Lebanon of Fatah, the mainstream faction led by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president. Three bodyguards were wounded in the blast.

The bomb exploded as the two-car convoy was between checkpoints outside the camp, near the southern city of Saida. Television showed firefighters hosing down the remains of Mr. Midhat’s car, a blackened heap of charred metal.

Some Palestinian officials speculated that the target might have been Mr. Midhat’s boss, Abbas Zaki, the Fatah representative in Lebanon, who is close to Mr. Abbas. Mr. Zaki had left the camp earlier.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast, and the Lebanese authorities did not make any official comment. Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps are off limits to the authorities here under the terms of a Lebanon-Palestinian agreement.

The Mieh Mieh camp, where the blast took place, and the nearby Ain el Hilwe camp are mainly controlled by Fatah. But the camps contain many other factions, including some armed jihadist groups that oppose Fatah’s moderate stance toward Israel, and they are often torn by political and personal rivalries.

There have been killings in the past, though targeted bombings like the one on Monday have not taken place for some time. Tensions have been high in recent months because of efforts by Hamas, Fatah’s chief rival in the Palestinian territories, to increase its influence in the Lebanese camps.

Mr. Midhat had many enemies because of the role he had played as a moderator in political disputes, said Marwan Abdulal, an official in another faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“He was a consensus element; he played a mediating role in many reconciliations,” Mr. Abdulal said.

But there are also strong indications that the bombing may have been intended to block the current efforts toward a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, said Hilal Khashaan, a professor at American University of Beirut and an expert on the Palestinian factions. Such a reconciliation could weaken Iran’s power over Hamas, Mr. Khashaan said.

“All indicators seem to point in the direction of Iranian agents in Lebanon” as the likely perpetrators, Mr. Khashaan said.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.




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