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.

A rescue team’s vehicle is seen at the Palestinian camp where an explosion took place, in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, Lebanon December 10, 2021. REUTERS/Ali Hankir

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.

By Auther