BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army Monday led a security drill at a primary school near the Sidon-area Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh.
The drill was conducted by the Lebanese Red Cross in coordination with the Army and with the participation of the secretariat of the Disaster and Crisis Management Committee in the South of Lebanon, as well as with students from the school, which is located in the Taamir neighborhood just beyond the camp’s borders.
The drill simulated the scenario of a security event at the school. Part of the drill required participants to enter an underground cellar that was used in the past as a gateway between Taamir and the Tawari neighborhood, but had been closed for security reasons by the Lebanese Army.
Ain al-Hilweh is the largest Palestinian camp in Lebanon and has become notoriously prone to gun battles between rival factions, including Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists. Ain al-Hilweh is also known to be a safe haven for criminals, as Lebanese authorities by convention cannot enter Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps, but are instead deployed at their entrances.
On behalf of South Lebanon Gov. Mansour Daou, the secretariat of the local crisis management committee commended “the efforts of the Red Cross in cooperation with the Lebanese Army to do everything that would save lives and property and reduce losses.”
The event was also attended by Brig. Gen. Rudolph Heikal and director of the Red Cross Disaster Management Unit Kassem Chaalan. They were received by the director of the Ain al-Hilweh primary school, Suha Jarkas.
At the end of the event, Chaalan, along with 1st Lt. Hussein Aboud, distributed certificates to the participants. - Writing by Ghada Alsharif
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 28, 2019, on page 2.