The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has deplored the death of four people and injury of several others when a shooting erupted during a funeral procession at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, blaming the bloodshed on rival forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The shooting took place at the Burj al-Shemali camp, which sits outside the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, on Sunday, during the funeral of Hamas supporter Hamza Shaheen, who was killed in an explosion on Friday night in the camp.
Hamas, in a statement released later in the day, held the Palestinian Authority’s leadership in the occupied central Western Bank city of Ramallah and their security services in Lebanon “fully responsible” for the crime.
“Even though the funeral had been organized and dozens of Lebanese and Palestinian dignitaries, thousands of Palestinian expatriates, scholars, politicians, lawmakers, and representatives from various Palestinian factions were in attendance, PA-affiliated forces in the camp deliberately and intentionally opened fire at the crowd using machine guns,” the statement read.
The statement pointed out that the crime comes at a time when Lebanon is facing economic and social crises and is being targeted by Israeli plots, saying it jeopardizes the Lebanese people’s security in southern Lebanon.
“The heinous shooting fully serves the interests of the occupying Israeli regime, which has always sought to target Palestinian refugee camps in order to deprive their residents of the right to return and bring about the resettlement of Palestinian refugees,” Hamas further stated.
The statement went on to note that the violence resulted in the death of three Hamas members, identified as Mohammed Waleed Taha, Hussein Mohammed al-Ahmed, and Omar Mohammed al-Sahli, denouncing the act as reminiscent of Israeli forces’ crimes during funerals of fallen Palestinian resistance fighters.
“This massacre targets the entire Palestinian society in Lebanon and amounts to an offensive against Palestinians and factions in the country. It was intended to undermine the civil peace, security, and stability of Palestinians residing in Lebanon,” it said.
It then called on Fatah and other Palestinian political factions to condemn the shooting at the Burj al-Shemali camp, emphasizing that PA-affiliated forces threaten the security of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
“We demand that Palestinians hand the murderers over to Lebanese security forces, and hold anyone who has a hand in the crime to account. We urge Lebanese security forces to persecute these criminals and halt any form of coordination with the groups that committed today’s massacre,” Hamas added.
Lebanon is home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Many live in the 12 refugee camps that are scattered across the small Mediterranean country.