refugee camp of Ein Al Hilweh
File photo: A member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah group stands guard in front of houses riddled with bullets after the deadly clashes between factions in the refugee camp of Ein Al Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The Saudi embassy in Lebanon has issued an urgent warning to Saudi citizens, requesting that they leave Lebanese territory swiftly due to escalating tensions in the region. This follows the violent conflicts reported near the Ein Al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in early August.

In a statement, the Saudi embassy said, "The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon would like to caution citizens to avoid areas witnessing armed conflicts." While the statement did not specify which areas should be avoided, it is understood that southern Lebanon, particularly areas near the Ein Al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, should be approached with utmost caution.

Furthermore, the embassy emphasized the urgency of departure, urging citizens to "quickly leave Lebanese territory." The statement also reinforced the importance of adhering to the decision to ban Saudis from travelling to Lebanon.

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Earlier in August, the kingdom updated its travel guidance to Lebanon, advising against "all non-essential travel," especially to the aforementioned regions in southern Lebanon.

Tensions have escalated near the Ein Al Hilweh camp, where clashes between the Fatah movement and radical Islamists have resulted in at least 13 fatalities, primarily among militants, according to sources within the camp. The conflict erupted on July 29, marking a severe escalation in violence.

As per the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Ein Al Hilweh is the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. It accommodates approximately 80,000 of the total 250,000 Palestinian refugees residing across Lebanon.

The Saudi embassy concluded its statement by extending wishes of security and safety to all.