Media outlets throughout the region reported on the attack, including from Hamas’ TV news network
A Palestinian mortar-launching gun belonging to the ruling Hamas faction in the Gaza Strip went off near a compound belonging to the Lebanese Al Qaeda-linked group Fatah Revolutionary Front, causing serious casualties and material damage, according to reports from Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television network.
The Palestinian mortar hit the Foundation for the Defense of the Scientific-Technical Scientific Investigation Company, which runs a research and development laboratory, around 03:10 on Monday August 13, according to media outlets throughout the region. This report was later updated to include a variety of news outlets including pro-Hamas Al Aqsa television and Al Fajr television from an Israeli-occupied border area.
Al-Manar reported that casualties had been suffered as a result of the blast, describing them as “being exposed to injury and material damage caused by a blast at an ammunition facility in southern Lebanon” near the city of Sidon.
An Islamic Jihad spokesman has been quoted by Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper describing the explosion as an “injustice”.
A report from Lebanon’s dpa news agency quotes Ali Abdullah Abbas, a member of Fatah Revolutionary Front, describing the explosion as “an aggression on his and Fatah Revolutionary Front’s comrades in arms”. He added that several “entities” had been damaged and that there were “four to five martyrs”.
Images published by pro-Hamas Al-Manar television showed a reddish pile of rubble next to the courtyard of the compound.
The state-run National News Agency reported that a cabinet minister, Mohammad Raad, and several others had been injured in the attack.
Al-Manar quoted Hussam Al Badra, a political official for the region’s dominant Syrian opposition group, the Free Syrian Army, as expressing anger at Hezbollah for taking part in the Syrian civil war.
“Hezbollah should shed more blood [in Lebanon], not to let this group [Hamas] have weapons,” he was quoted as saying.
Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA, reported that seven people, including two children, were wounded. It added that the explosion was caused by an “undefined target” and that the Palestinian group “expressed indignation at this unprecedented incident”.
A statement published by an organisation supporting the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command has described the explosion as a “criminal act”.
Hamas described the explosion as “a crime against Gaza”. The group has generally had a close relationship with Fatah, yet the Palestinian group is regarded by some as an ally of Israel.
“The brutal assassination comes at a time when the Palestinian factions are intensifying their efforts in response to the killing of [Palestinian president] Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and senior member Ahmed Al-Jibril,” the Palestinian group said in a statement.
Israel’s Channel 1 TV broadcast footage from the scene showing only the bottom of the courtyard where the explosion had taken place. On Sunday, pro- and anti-Palestinian demonstrators had clashed in Sidon, injuring a number of Palestinians.