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Hamas blames Fatah for deadly shooting in Lebanon refugee camp

Terror group says rival militia members were behind killings at Sunday funeral

Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of two members of Hamas who were killed after gunfire erupted last Sunday during a Hamas-organized funeral in a Palestinian refugee camp, during their funeral procession in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, on December 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)
Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of two members of Hamas who were killed after gunfire erupted last Sunday during a Hamas-organized funeral in a Palestinian refugee camp, during their funeral procession in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, on December 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON, Lebanon — The Hamas terror group on Tuesday blamed rival Fatah for a deadly shooting at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon earlier in the week, as it buried three members killed in the incident.

Hamas official Ayman Shanaa told mourners that Fatah militia members were behind the shootings which took place at a Hamas-organized funeral in the Burj Shamali camp on Sunday.

Shanaa called the shooting “a heinous and cowardly premeditated crime” that aims to undermine security and stability in the refugee camps in Lebanon.

He called for handing the perpetrators “known to all” in the Lebanese security agencies.

The comments were made as thousands attended the funeral for the three in the southern city of Sidon, with many mourners raising the green Hamas flag.

There are tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Lebanon, most living in refugee camps. Fatah is the political faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.

An ambulance enters the Burj Shamali Palestinian refugee camp, in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, on Friday, December 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Lebanese security forces don’t operate inside about 12 Palestinian refugee camps scattered around the Mediterranean country, where security is in the hands of Palestinian factions who often compete for clout.

On Friday night, an alleged Hamas weapons depot hidden underneath a mosque in the camp, located near the port city of Tyre, exploded, killing Hamza Shaheen. The terror group claimed Shaheen as a member, but did not state what his position was. In an announcement following his death, Hamas said that he was “martyred in a mission of jihad.”

One Hamas member was killed in the explosions. During his funeral on Sunday, gunfire erupted leaving three people dead and several injured.

The source of the shooting was not clear at the time and Palestinian officials had different accounts of what happened. Shanaa’s comments Tuesday were the most direct public accusation against Fatah, which had no immediate comment.

Tensions between Palestinian factions in Lebanon often turn into violence but are usually quickly contained within the overcrowded camps.

Last week, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that Hamas quietly established a Lebanon branch of its Gaza-based terror group in recent years in order to open up an additional front against Israel in future conflicts.

The branch is based in Tyre, but it is believed to have other outposts throughout the country, according to Yedioth.

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