Lebanon’s caretaker premier, Najib Mikati, has assured the public that there is no reason for concern or panic regarding the country’s security situation. This comes after Germany and Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Germany, and Britain, issued new travel warnings for Lebanon following outbreaks of violence.
These travel warnings were prompted by clashes between rival armed groups in the Palestinian camp of Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon. Mikati stated that there has been significant progress in resolving the violence in Ain el-Hilweh, where at least 13 people have been killed.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib has been tasked with reassuring Arab countries that their citizens are safe in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have strongly urged their citizens to leave Lebanon quickly and avoid areas of armed clashes. Meanwhile, Kuwait and Qatar have advised their nationals in Lebanon to stay vigilant and avoid areas of security disturbances but have not requested them to leave.
Last week, Germany warned its citizens not to travel to Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Additionally, Britain has advised against all but essential travel to certain parts of Lebanon’s south, including areas near Ain el-Hilweh.
Ain el-Hilweh is the largest of the 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, hosting up to 250,000 Palestinian refugees according to the United Nations’ agency for refugees from Palestine (UNRWA).
As tensions continue to rise in Ain el-Hilweh, authorities and international organizations are working to restore calm and ensure the safety of both residents and visitors.
This report has been compiled with the contributions of Maya Gebeily in Beirut and Vera Eckert in Germany, and edited by Giles Elgood, Toby Chopra, and Jonathan Oatis.
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