A senior Palestinian official, Kamal Medhat, was martyred in a bombing on Monday along with four of his bodyguards at the Mieh Mieh refugee camp near the southern Lebanese coastal city of Sidon.
An army spokesman declared that Medhat was at the entrance of the camp in a two-vehicle convoy when a roadside bomb exploded killing him and three of his bodyguards. "The bomb was apparently hidden in a little shed on the side of the road and was detonated as Medhat's convoy drove by," he said.
The force of the blast tore through the Mercedes in which Medhat was traveling and threw the car into a nearby field, witnesses said.
Munir Maqdah, in charge of security at Lebanon's 12 refugee camps, said Mehdat and several bodyguards died in the blast. "Kamal Medhat was killed along with ... his bodyguards when a roadside bomb exploded as his vehicle drove by, near the entrance to the camp and an army checkpoint," Maqdah said. Maqdah had earlier said that four bodyguards were killed.
Medhat, in his 50s, was the deputy representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Lebanon. He was also a former intelligence chief for the mainstream Fatah movement in Lebanon.
Tensions have been high at the Mieh Mieh camp where two people were killed at the weekend in an apparent settling of accounts between two rival clans. Medhat had visited Mieh Mieh in a bid to calm the situation. "He was on his way out of the camp where he had visited officials in a bid to ease the tension," Hisham El-Debsi, a PLO official, said.
Medhat, also known as Kamal Naji, was a close aide to the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat when the latter was leading his guerilla war against Israel from Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Abbas Zaki, the Palestinian Authority's representative in Lebanon, blamed the Zionist entity for the killing and warned it would have serious repercussions in Lebanon and the Palestinian camps. "Those behind the killing are working in one way or another for Israel," said Zaki, who had left the camp in another vehicle just minutes before the attack. "We are trying to calm the situation inside the camps."
The representative of the Palestinian Hamas faction in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, condemned the killing saying it was aimed at sowing discord in the Palestinian camps, considered breeding grounds for extremist groups. He told Al-Manar that the crime was in the interests of the Palestinian people's enemies, stressing that the death of Medhat considers a major loss for the Palestinians. Asked about the identity of the criminals, Hamdan said that the main suspect is, no doubt, the Zionist entity and its tools.
ABBAS CONDEMNS "TERRORIST" KILLING IN LEBANON
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killing of the deputy head of the PLO in Lebanon on Monday as an act of terrorism.
"President Abbas condemns the terrorist crime that targeted Major General Kamal Medhat," he said in a statement issued by his office. "He dedicated his life to serve his people and his cause," the statement added.