A Hamas official was injured in a car bombing in Sidon, southern Lebanon, according to a spokesperson for the terror group.
Ayman Shanaa, a Hamas official in Lebanon, said Mohammad Hamdan was “injured lightly in the legs by a car bombing,” but a medical official source said his wounds were severe.
Hamdan was hit in “the explosion of a bomb placed under a BMW brand car,” a military source told AFP.
Initial reports said Hamdan was the brother of Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan, but the claim was widely denied.
The explosion occurred while he was opening the door of his vehicle.
An AFP journalist in Sidon saw the burnt-out vehicle in a parking lot. A medical source at the scene told AFP that Hamdan had suffered serious wounds to his legs while opening the door to his car, and was taken to a hospital.
The Red Cross confirmed that there was only one person wounded in the blast and said he had been taken to the hospital in a civilian vehicle.
Sidon Mayor Mohammed Saudi said Hamdan was undergoing surgery in a local hospital.
Images posted on social media and aired on Lebanese TV showed a mangled car, a large fire and black smoke rising above the city. Security forces cordoned off the area and firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 14, 2018
A Hamas official in Lebanon, Ali Barakeh, said Osama Hamdan is in Beirut and was not involved in the incident.
Lebanese news outlet Al Mayadeen was one of a few media sites that reported Israeli aircraft were in the area of the explosion.
Hamas’s political bureau in Lebanon released a statement about the incident, suggesting Israel may have been involved.
“The occupation is the only beneficiary of harming security in Lebanon. We will leave it to the competent security authorities to investigate the explosion that targeted one of our cadres in Sidon,” the terror group said in a statement carried on its news outlet Al Aqsa TV.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians live in Lebanon, many of them in 12 camps across the country.
The most densely populated of those camps is Ain al-Hilweh, which lies near Sidon and is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in neighboring Syria.
In 2006, two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group were killed in the same neighborhood in Sidon when a bomb planted in a vehicle detonated as they passed near it. Israel was blamed for the attack.