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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Beirut: Five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group were killed in an overnight explosion near Lebanon’s border with Syria, security sources told Reuters on Wednesday, with the group blaming Israeli air strikes.

An Israeli source told Reuters the Israeli military was not involved in the Syria-Lebanon border blast. Lebanon’s army declined to comment.

A PFLP statement on Wednesday said five of its members were killed in Israeli bombing on a site controlled by the group near the border. The group’s spokesman in Damascus Anwar Raja told Reuters an Israeli strike on the Lebanese town of Qusaya had killed five members, including fighters, and wounded 10.

A representative for the PFLP in Lebanon Abu Kifah Ghazi said airplanes had been heard over the PFLP position all night.

But a Palestinian security source told Reuters the deaths were the result of mines exploding as the PFLP members were moving them. The two Lebanese security sources said they could not confirm the blast was the result of an Israeli strike.

The Israeli military told Reuters it does not comment on reports in foreign media. A correspondent for Israel’s Army Radio, citing Israeli officials, said “there was no Israeli attack on the PFLP along the Lebanon-Syria border”.

The PFLP, founded in 1968, is sanctioned by the United States and the European Union. PFLP fighters hijacked four Western airliners with more than 500 people aboard in September 1970.