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Brother of top Hamas official in Lebanon said targeted in car bombing

Osama Hamdan, who handles foreign relations for Hamas, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday May 2, 2012
AP Photo/Hussein Malla
'Hamdan is an official in Hamas's security service. His work is linked to internal Palestinian affairs'

A car bombing in the southern Lebanon port city of Sidon on Sunday reportedly targeted the brother of the top representative of the Islamist Hamas group in the country, the Lebanese army said.

It was not immediately clear whether Abu Hamza Hamdan, brother of Osama Hamdan, survived the explosion.

Military and medical sources told AFP that a Hamas official was wounded, while Al Arabiya reported that Abu Hamza Hamdan was killed in the attack.

"A bomb placed in a BMW in Sidon detonated, wounding Hamas official [Abu Hamza] Hamdan," a military source said.

An AFP journalist in Sidon saw the burnt-out vehicle in a parking lot.

A medical source at the scene told AFP that Hamdan suffered serious wounds to his legs while opening the door to his car, and was transported to hospital.

Hamas, meanwhile, denied that any of its officials were targeted in an attack.

"The blast wounded his leg, destroyed his car and damaged the building. Preliminary evidence points to Zionist (involvement) behind this crime," Hamas's Lebanon branch said in a statement.

Firefighters arrived to put out the flames and Lebanese security forces quickly cordoned off the area.

"All civilians get back!" shouted an officer, ushering curious residents away from the charred car. 

The Red Cross confirmed there was only one person wounded in the blast and said he had been transported to hospital in a civilian vehicle.

Mahmoud Zayyat (AFP/File)

- 'Fingers pointed to Israel' -

Hamdan did not appear to have a public or political role in Hamas, but a Palestinian security source told AFP that he was a member of the organisation's security apparatus. 

"Hamdan is an official in Hamas's security service. His work is linked to internal Palestinian affairs," the source said.

"Because of the nature of his work, the fingers are pointed to the Israeli enemy."

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel in the last decade and is based in the Gaza strip, but it operates branches elsewhere in the Middle East including Lebanon. 

Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, many of them in 12 camps across the country.

The most densely-populated is Ain al-Hilweh, which lies near Sidon and is home to an estimated 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in neighbouring Syria.

By longstanding convention, Lebanese authorities do not enter Palestinian camps, where security is instead left to joint Palestinian security forces. 

These units -- which include Hamas, rival Palestinian faction Fatah and other groups -- have fought several battles with jihadist groups inside Ain al-Hilweh.

(Staff with Agencies)

Comments

(2)

Must be the KGB wo a doubt.

Mossad will never go 2 crazy Lebanon.

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