Two members of Fatah die after clashes erupt in Ein el-Helweh camp.
“The blows dealt by Fatah al-Islam against the Lebanese army are a premeditated crime and a dangerous attempt to destabilise [Lebanon]”
Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister
Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister, accused Fatah al-Islam of trying to destabilise the country.
In a statement, he said: “The blows dealt by Fatah al-Islam against the Lebanese army are a premeditated crime and a dangerous attempt to destabilise [Lebanon]”.
He called on the people of Lebanon, which has been battling political chaos for months, to “join ranks behind the army and Lebanese security forces.”
Earlier, Fatah al-Islam told Lebanon’s army not to take “provocative actions” against the group.
The authenticity of the groups’ statement could not be immediately verified but its language was similar to previous statements from the group.
“We warn the Lebanese army of the consequences of continuing the provocative acts against our mujahidin who will open the gates of fire… against [the army] and against the whole of Lebanon.”
The Lebanese army cannot enter Palestinian refugee camps in line with a 38-year-old agreement.
However, it has tightened its grip around the camp since the authorities charged members of the group with carrying out two bus bombings in a Christian area near Beirut that killed three civilians in February.
The Lebanese army has also stepped up security in the area surrounding Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
Fatah al-Islam was formed last year by fighters who broke off from the pro-Syrian Fatah-Intifada group.
Lebanese officials allege Fatah al-Islam is merely a front for Syrian intelligence in Lebanon.
Ahmad Fatfat, a Lebanese cabinet minister, said Sunday’s violence was part of efforts to sabotage the setting up of an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, a former prime minister.
While a UN inquiry into the Hariri killing has not yet concluded, interim reports have implicated Syria and Lebanese officials.
“There is someone trying to create security chaos to say to world public opinion: ‘Look, if the tribunal is established, there will be security trouble in Lebanon‘,” Fatfat said.
Syria and Fatah al-Islam deny having any relationship.
Fatah al-Islam statements have appeared on Islamist websites known to publish al-Qaeda statements.