The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas said that yesterday's explosion at a refugee camp in southern Lebanon was caused by an electrical short-circuit in a storage area for oxygen bottles used for coronavirus patients.
According to Lebanon's state-run National News Agency (NNA), an arms depot used by Hamas exploded on Friday evening, resulting in several deaths although rescue workers disputed claims of fatalities. The report stated that the blast erupted at a storage facility in the Burj Al-Shemali camp east of the city of Tyre.
One Lebanese military source was quoted on Friday as saying "a fire in a warehouse of ammunition, weapons and foodstuffs belonging to Hamas led to the explosion."
The cause of the blast remains unclear and unconfirmed, although initial reports suggested that a fire started in a diesel tanker and spread to a nearby mosque in the camp, setting off some armaments that had been stored there by the group.
However, in a statement issued by the movement, oxygen bottles and containers of detergents are said to have been the cause. "Hamas condemns the misleading media campaign and the spread of false news that accompanied the incident," the statement said. It added that reports about the cause of the blast and the "deaths of dozens" were baseless.
Footage has since circulated on social media showing large fires and plumes of smoke while loud explosions and shattered glass can be heard.