Beirut: Arms stored for the Palestinian Hamas militant group exploded in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Friday night, killing and wounding a number of people, the state-run National News Agency reported.
A Lebanese security official said authorities have no exact numbers of the casualties yet but that there could be as many as 12 dead in the Burj Shamali camp in the port city of Tyre. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Earlier Friday, camp residents said explosions shook the camp, adding that the nature of the blasts was not immediately clear.
Ambulances rushed to the scene, residents told The Associated Press by phone.
Initial reports said a fire had started in a diesel tanker and spread to a nearby mosque controlled by the Palestinian militant group. The fire triggered explosions of some weapons that appeared to have been stored inside the mosque, according to the residents.
The NNA said the army cordoned off the area, preventing people from entering or leaving the camp.
NNA added that the state prosecutor in southern Lebanon has asked security agencies and arms experts to inspect the arms storage site that belongs to Hamas.
Lebanon is home to tens of thousands of Palestinians refugees and their descendants. Many live in the 12 refugee camps that are scattered around the small Mediterranean country.