Large explosion rocks Palestinian camp in Lebanon’s port city of Tyre, dozen wounded

A large explosion has rocked a Palestinian camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, causing a number of injuries, state media reported.

A Palestinian source inside the camp told Reuters that at least 12 people had been injured and there were an unknown number of fatalities after the blast late on Friday.

Local media and civil defense workers on scene however said there had been no fatalities. A security source said fatalities had not been recorded.

The explosion took place at a suspected Hamas weapons depot in the Burj al-Shemali camp and a judge had ordered security forces to launch an investigation, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Shehab News Agency, seen as close to Hamas, quoted a Palestinian source as saying the explosion was caused by the ignition of oxygen canisters stored for use in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamas maintains a presence in a number of Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

The NNA said the army cordoned off the area, preventing people from entering or leaving the camp.

Videos from the scene shared by local media show a number of small bright red flashes above the southern city, followed by a large explosion and the sound of glass breaking.

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.

A number of armed Palestinian factions, including those linked to Hamas and Fatah, hold effective control over the camps, which Lebanese authorities by custom do not enter.