2 Palestinians killed during funeral in Lebanon refugee camp

Lebanon's National News Agency reports seven people injured after a gunfire broke out during the funeral of a Hamas member



Members of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine stand guard in the Burj Shamali Palestinian refugee camp, in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon. — AP
Members of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine stand guard in the Burj Shamali Palestinian refugee camp, in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon. — AP

By AP

Published: Sun 12 Dec 2021, 9:31 PM

At least two Palestinians were killed and several injured after gunfire broke out during the Sunday funeral of a Hamas member killed in a refugee camp days earlier, Lebanon’s state news agency, Palestinian and Lebanese officials said.

The National News Agency said two were killed and seven were injured when what it described as an “altercation” broke out during the Hamas-organised funeral.

But Hamas spokesperson Ayman Shanaa put the death toll at four, telling Palestinian media that the killings took place when gunmen opened fire at the mourners. Shanaa didn’t immediately blame anyone for the shooting.

The source of the gunfire was not immediately clear in the tense Burj Shamali camp, which was rocked by a series of explosions late Friday that killed the Hamas member. The cause of the explosions was also disputed. The Palestinian Hamas group said an electrical short-circuit in a storage area for oxygen bottles caused the blast.

A Lebanese security official said the explosion happened in an ammunition depot, however. NNA had also reported an explosion in a Hamas arms warehouse in the camp, saying a number were killed and injured.

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Sunday’s funeral for Hamza Chahine drew scores of mourners. The gunfire broke out before his body arrived at the burial site.

Lebanese security forces don’t operate inside the refugee camps, where security is in the hands of Palestinian factions who often compete for clout.

A Lebanese security official said reports from the camp suggest clashes broke out between rival Palestinian factions during the funeral. The official said three were killed in the violence.

One Palestinian official said infiltrators used the occasion to shoot at the mourners. He said one of the injured is in critical condition. Another Palestinian official said during a 21-gun-salute for the deceased, errant shots killed two of the mourners. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters.

Shanaa said Hamas was working to contain the fallout from the violence.

Lebanon is home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Many live in the 12 refugee camps that are scattered around the small Mediterranean country.


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