Hamas accuses PA of deadly shooting at funeral in Lebanon

Hamas accused the PA's security forces of killing members of the movement during a funeral in Lebanon.

 Members of Palestinian group Hamas carry their weapons during a funeral in Tyre (photo credit: Ali Hankir/Reuters)
Members of Palestinian group Hamas carry their weapons during a funeral in Tyre
(photo credit: Ali Hankir/Reuters)

Hamas issued an official statement on Sunday accusing the Palestinian Authority in of conducting a deadly shooting attack at a Hamas funeral in a Palestinian refugee camp in Tyre, Lebanon.

Four people were killed and six others were injured in the shooting, according to Palestinian media.

Hamas claimed that the details of the funeral of Hamas member Hamza Ibrahim Shahine, who died in an explosion at a Hamas weapons depot in the Burj al-Shemali Palestinian refugee camp on Friday, had been agreed upon officially and nationally.

The statement claimed that the National Security Forces (NSF) of the PA “opened fire with automatic weapons directly and deliberately and with the intent to kill toward the participants in the funeral procession.” The movement stressed that it holds the leadership of the PA in Ramallah and its security services in Lebanon fully responsible, saying the NSF “only serves the occupation.”

The movement stated that three members of Hamas in Lebanon were killed in the shooting attack: Muhammad Walid Taha, 30, Hussein Muhammad al-Ahmad, 22, and Omar Muhammad al-Sahli, 21. Additional members of the movement were injured.

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

Hamas called the incident “a precedent,” saying only Israel had conducted such attacks on funerals in the past. The movement claimed the shooting aimed to “sabotage” civil peace among Palestinians in Lebanon and to tamper with the security in southern Lebanon in general “when Lebanon is witnessing an economic and social crisis and is being targeted by Israeli security projects.”

The movement additionally claimed that the attack was “entirely in service” of Israel, and called on Fatah and all the Palestinian, Lebanese and Islamic factions to condemn the attack.

Tawfiq Abdullah, the secretary-general of Fatah in Tyre, rejected claims that the movement was responsible for the shooting in the refugee camp and condemned the attack. Abdullah stressed that the movement was ready to hand over any person proven to be involved in the attack.

Tensions have spiked between the PA and other Palestinian factions, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), in recent months, amid a crackdown by PA security forces on Hamas and the PIJ in the West Bank.

On Sunday night, PA security services confronted Hamas members and supporters who were welcoming Muhammad Al-Arif in Tulkarm and Obada Qanis in Bethlehem after both were released from Israeli prisons.

Videos from Bethlehem shared on social media showed Palestinians clashing with PA security forces after the incident.

Hamas and the PIJ condemned the actions by the PA forces.

“The frenzied attack against the liberated prisoners, and the pursuit of the banners of the factions, is a behavior of the occupation in which no one should be involved, as the authorities are doing now,” said Hamas in a statement. “The issue of prisoners is a red line, and daring to shed Palestinian blood is an unforgivable crime.”

The movement stressed that “it will not be drawn into sedition.”

The PIJ called for a “serious and responsible stance” from all the factions and “effective pressure to stop the hand of the security services.”

PIJ official Khader Adnan warned that he “feared a repetition of what happened in Lebanon [on Friday] in the West Bank.” Adnan called for the response to the PA’s action to be demonstrations, saying that force should be “for the occupation and occupation only.”