Violence spreads to Lebanon's south after multiple men charged for northern Tripoli clashes
Tripoli was put under government-ordered military control this week due to fatal sectarian clashes in the city over the past months (File Archive/AFP)
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Five people including a 14-year-old were wounded in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh in south Lebanon Tuesday when a bomb exploded near the funeral procession of a Fatah member who was shot last week, sources at the camp said.
The bomb exploded behind a wall on a road leading to the location of the cemetery in Darb al-Seem, seconds before the funeral convoy arrived, the sources said.
Mohammad Abdel-Hamid, also known as Mohammad al-Saadi, and Abed al-Youssef, member of the Popular Front to Liberate Palestine, were shot south of the camp by a gunman Sunday.
Saadi was shot in the chest and later died of his wounds when he was transferred to Al-Rai Hospital in the southern coastal city of Sidon.
A 14-year-old boy, Ibrahim Sarha, was wounded in the explosion along with the bodyguard of senior Fatah official Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Issa, better known as Lino, and two other people.
The bodyguard was identified as Saleh Dib.
Sources at the camp said the funeral convoy slowed down after hearing gunshots. The explosion occurred seconds afterward.
The explosion, which also damaged a parked vehicle, raised tensions in the camp as Palestinian leaders launched contacts to contain the situation.
Secretary of Fatah Movement Maher Shabayta said "the explosion could have caused a massacre if it hit the funeral procession had the latter not slowed down.”
Speaking to The Daily Star, Shabayta said the teenage boy’s leg was amputated, stating that "the boy was [suspiciously] too close to the place of the explosion."
“The injury of Lino’s bodyguard is not critical ... three others were slightly wounded and were not transported to a hospital,” he added.
The bomb attack was preceded by the arrest of nine gunmen, including a field commander, who were charged earlier Tuesday for their involvement in the deadly clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr accused the nine, eight of whom are in custody, of forming two armed groups within the factions engaged in political-military rivalry “with the aim of carrying out terrorist acts, undermining the authority and prestige of the state, igniting sectarian strife and launching gunbattles between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.”
The men were also charged with trading rocket-propelled grenades and machine gunfire as well as killing or wounding civilians and Lebanese soldiers.
They could face the death penalty if convicted.
Among the detainees were seven from Bab al-Tabbaneh, including field commander Hatem Janzarli.
The other two, including fugitive Abdel-Rahman Diab, are from Jabal Mohsen.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that Diab runs military operations in Jabal Mohsen.
He is also the son of Youssef Diab who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the twin car bombings in Tripoli, the sources added.