April 19, 2018

Blast kills Palestinian official in Lebanon

Lebanese army and red cross members inspect a damaged area after the explosion [Ali Hashisho/Reuters]

An explosion in the southern Lebanon city of Sidon has killed an official from the Palestinian Fatah movement on Tuesday, members of the group said.

The dead man was identified as Fathi Zaydan, a Fatah official responsible for the Palestinian camp of Mieh Mieh in Sidon.

An Al Jazeera Arabic in Beirut said Zaydan was leaving a meeting in Sidon and heading to Beirut when the blast went off.

Footage of the blast site near a Palestinian refugee camp showed a man’s body lying next to a burning vehicle.

“His identification card was found near the car which exploded, which was also his,” a source told the AFP news agency, adding it was unclear if Zaydan had been in the car at the time.

An army forensics unit arrived at the scene and cleared away scorched body parts lying the flaming car, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and most live in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps.

The camps are administered by Palestinian officials and security forces, rather than Lebanese authorities.

In recent years, tensions have grown between Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement and the Jund al-Sham group, especially in the Ain al-Hilweh camp, which is also near Sidon.

The rival factions in Ain al-Hilweh have clashed several times in the past year, with each side accusing each other of assassination attempts.

Civil defense workers and firefighters gather next to burned cars at the scene of the explosion [Mohammed Zaatari/AP]

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