Surveillance footage captured the horrible incident. A young woman carrying her baby in one arm and a sack of groceries in the other stands at the side of the road, getting ready to cross. She suddenly turns her head to the left, frightened by the sound of gunshots. She tries to move away but then falls to the ground, wounded, while still grasping her baby. Around her, people flee towards the right. The young woman lying on the ground stops moving and the video cuts out.
The FRANCE 24 Observers team decided not to share the video. Here is a screengrab taken from the video before the shots were fired.
The video of the young mother’s death was shared widely on Twitter and Facebook, garnering at least 40,000 views. The many people who shared it, including prominent Lebanese and Palestinian public figures, denounced the extremely dangerous conditions for people living in camps for Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The evening after the woman was killed, someone involved in the gunfight turned himself into the authorities. Security forces carried out an operation that same night with the aim of arresting drug traffickers, but none of the people involved in the gunfight that killed the young woman have been identified. Further operations were carried out the week after the young woman’s death.
Who was the victim?
The victim, Wouroud Kanju, was only 28 years old. She was Lebanese and lived outside the camp but went there for work every day. The day she died, she took Ariha street, which is at the camp entrance, on her way home. According to media outlet Al Araby Al Jadid, she was brought to the Makassed Hospital in Beirut before dying of injuries sustained from the gunshot wound and her subsequent fall to the ground.
Several Arabic-language media outlets shared surveillance camera footage of the clash, which was between drug dealers in the camp. The Shatila camp was created in 1949 for refugees from northern Palestine and is run by UNRWA, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The principal instigators of the violence in the camp are armed Palestinian factions who were meant to guard the area and most of the clashes are related to drug trafficking.