Hamas officials on Tuesday buried three of their members who were killed by gunfire in a “Palestinian refugee camp” in southern Lebanon days earlier, accusing members of rival Fatah for being behind the deadly shooting, The Associated Press reports.
The three Hamas members were killed in a gunfight on Sunday at the Burj Shamali refugee camp, which is located near the Lebanese port city of Tyre.
The clashes broke out during a funeral for Hamas member Hamza Shaheen, who was killed in an explosion at the refugee camp two days earlier.
Ayman Shanaa, an official with Hamas, told mourners on Tuesday that Fatah militia members were behind the shootings at the funeral, which he called a “heinous and cowardly crime."
Fatah, for its part, called the accusations “arbitrary and misleading." In a statement, the group accused Hamas of inciting against its members in Lebanon before investigation into the violence is concluded.
Initial reports said Friday’s explosion at the Burj Shamali camp was caused by ammunition that went off. Hamas rejected those reports and claimed the explosion was caused by an electrical short-circuit in a storage area for oxygen bottles used to treat coronavirus patients.
Lebanese residents who are registered as “Palestinian refugees” and their descendants who were born in that country reside in residential neighborhoods known as "refugee camps", have limited work options and are refused citizenship.
Lebanon refuses to naturalize the “Palestinian refugees” and has stressed the need to work for their return to their country of origin, which Palestinian Arabs claim is Israel.
Late last year, Lebanese authorities launched a crackdown on foreign workers, including people registered as “Palestinian refugees”.
According to the population census conducted in 2017, there are 174,422 “Palestinian refugees” residing in Lebanon in 12 "refugee camps" and in 152 residential neighborhoods throughout the country.