Pakistan News

Blast at Palestinian base in Lebanon kills five

BEIRUT: Five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command fighter group were killed in a blast overnight near Lebanon’s border with Syria, sources said on Wednesday, with the group blaming Israel but security sources disputing the account.

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

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

“For now we do not have more detailed information on the operation,” he added.

Israel denies involvement

A representative for the PFLP-GC in Lebanon, Abu Kifah Ghazi, said aeroplanes had been heard over the group’s position all night. But one Palestinian security source and a Lebanese security source said the deaths were the result of explosives and ammunition detonating as the PFLP-GC members were moving them.

A second Lebanese security source said he could not confirm the blast was the result of an Israeli strike.

The Israeli military said it does not comment on reports in foreign media.

In August 2019, suspected Israeli strikes targeted the PFLP-GC in Qusaya.

In July 2015, a security official said a blast at a PFLP-GC base in Qusaya wounded seven people, while the Palestinian group blamed it on an Israeli strike.

The group was founded in 1968 after splitting from the similarly named Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

It has close ties to Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group and maintains a small presence in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Its founder, Ahmed Jibril, was based in Damascus until he died in 2021.

In its early years, the PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in the Middle East and Europe and was one of the first groups to use suicide squads against Israeli forces.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2023

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