Geagea Urges State to Explain What Happened in al-Bourj al-Shamali
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Sunday called on the defense and interior ministries to explain the circumstances of Friday’s explosions at the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Bourj al-Shamali.
“We want the official and complete account of events for the blast that went off Friday at the al-Bourj al-Shamali camp in the city of Tyre so that we react accordingly,” Geagea said in a tweet.
The Palestinian Hamas group said Saturday that the explosions were caused by an electrical short-circuit in a storage area for oxygen bottles used to treat coronavirus patients.
Later in the day however, a Lebanese security official told The Associated Press news agency that the explosion in the camp was clearly ammunition -- not oxygen bottles.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency had reported late Friday that arms stored for Hamas exploded Friday in the camp, killing and injuring a number of people. Hamas in a statement Saturday described the explosions as an "incident" adding that a fire in the camp caused limited damage.
In a later statement, the group said that one of its members, Hamza Chahine, was killed. It called on its supporters to take part in his funeral on Sunday afternoon at a mosque in the camp.
Hamas said the oxygen bottles and containers of detergents stored at the camp were to be distributed as part of its aid work in the camp.
"Hamas condemns the misleading media campaign and the spread of false news that accompanied the incident," the militant group said in its statement. It added that reports about the cause of the blast and the "deaths of dozens" are baseless.
Immediately after the blasts, Lebanese troops deployed around the camp and briefly prevented people from entering or leaving.
NNA said the state prosecutor in southern Lebanon has asked security agencies and arms experts to inspect the Hamas “arms storage” site inside the camp.