Hamas Official Targeted in Lebanon Car Bombing

The group denies Mohammed Hamdan, who was wounded in the bombing, is the brother of the top Hamas official Osama Hamdan, as was initially reported

Firefighters extinguish a burning car that was destroyed in a bombing, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, January 14, 2018
Mohammed Zaatari/AP

A bomb blast wounded an official of the Palestinian group Hamas in the Lebanese city of Sidon on Sunday, destroying his car, security sources and the Hezbollah movement's al-Manar television station reported.

Local media said the person wounded by the bomb was Mohammed Hamdan, initially reporting that he was the brother of Osama Hamdan, the head of the Hamas' international relations and a member of the political bureau. However, Hamas has denied that he is Osama Hamdan's brother.

The blast destroyed Hamdan's silver BMW and sent a column of smoke into the sky over Sidon, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Beirut, television footage from the scene broadcast by Lebanese television stations showed.

A Lebanese security official said the bomb was placed under the car seat. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The official Lebanon News Agency said the explosion went off as Hamdan was getting into the car.

Lebanese media reported that a drone was flying over Sidon at the time of the explosion.

Witnesses said the man targeted in the attack appeared to have been wounded in the leg. He was transported to hospital where he was treated for his wounds.

"Israel is the only one that could benefit from harming Lebanon's security," Hamas said in a statement following the bombing, but added that it will "leave it to the Lebanese security forces to investigate and reveal who was behind the assassination attempt."

Sidon is home to two of Lebanon's 12 Palestinian refugee camps. The attack took place in a residential area in northern Sidon.