Hezbollah warehouse blast in Lebanon injures nine

Lebanon’s Interior Ministry said nine people were wounded

An ammunition warehouse in south Lebanon has exploded, injuring nine people.

Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, told BBC that the blast was an accident.

There were no Israeli forces in the area at the time, or if so no jets were seen over Lebanon.

The tunnel was in the Nabejaa village, north-west of Baalbek, which is also home to the Chouf Mountains.

The explosion took place at about 1830 local time (0500 BST) and was apparently caused by an explosive device, a security source said.

‘Bombs and mortars’

The warehouse’s director is Ibrahim Abu Sanah, who is well known to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“This is all a joke. This warehouse was storing munitions which were all dropped from the sky or exploded… it had no entrance and there was no one inside it,” Hamas official Mushir al-Masri told the BBC.

He said the blasts were caused by “terrorism” and “brutal bombs and mortars”.

Palestinian militant group Fatah distanced itself from the attack.

“We are shocked by this and find it surprising that the two parties [Hezbollah and Hamas] who have publicly agreed to find a solution to the issue of the Palestinians in Lebanon did not find the mutual understanding to stop the spill-over of violence,” said a Fatah spokesperson.

The explosion came as Israeli jets were heard near Beirut, where they had dropped incendiary flares over parts of the city on Wednesday.

Israel has often carried out raids on suspected Iranian weapons or intelligence installations in Lebanon.

Israel believes the flow of arms into Lebanon has been stepped up after the collapse of the Lebanese government in January.

Fatah and Hamas have a bloody history, but have turned to the rule of elected leaders to make peace.

In May last year, a rocket was fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The area is also home to several historical sites.

The United Nations has in the past voiced concern at the potential for conflict between Iran and Israel.

Last year, the UN Security Council set up a team to study the incidents, with the aim of agreeing on how to prevent further clashes and humanitarian disasters.

Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive war in 2006, as long as 15,000 Lebanese lost their lives and 200,000 people fled their homes.

In November last year, a blast in southern Lebanon killed 15 people, including a child, and injured dozens of others.

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