Blast in Palestinian camp in south Lebanon injures about a dozen

BEIRUT, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A large explosion rocked a Palestinian camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre on Friday night, injuring about a dozen people, according to rescue workers on the scene and a Palestinian source inside the camp.

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported an unspecified number of deaths, but local media and civil defence workers on the scene said there had been no fatalities. A security source also said fatalities had not been recorded.

The NNA reported that the blast emanated from a weapons depot belonging to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in the Burj al-Shemali camp. It said a judge had ordered security forces to launch an investigation.

Hamas said in a statement on Saturday that the blast was cause by an electrical fault in a warehouse containing oxygen and gas cylinders for coronavirus patients, as well as detergents and disinfectants.

The fire damaged some property but losses were limited, the group said.

A number of armed Palestinian factions, including Hamas and the Fatah Movement, hold effective control over roughly a dozen Palestinian camps in the country, which Lebanese authorities by custom do not enter.

The area surrounding the blast had been evacuated and rescue crews had deployed, the Palestinian source said.

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.

Reporting by Maha El Dahan, Lilian Wagdy and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Timour Azhari and Moaz Abd-Alaziz; Editing by Alex Richardson, Sonya Hepinstall and Edmund Blair

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