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At least one person was killed and seven injured in an explosion that destroyed a municipality building and a scout centre for the Amal Movement near Sidon in southern Lebanon.

The blast, the cause of which is so far unknown, struck the town of Banaafoul in the early hours of Tuesday.

Ali Al Riz, the son of the town’s mayor Tawfiq Al Riz, was killed in the explosion, the Shiite political party confirmed. His funeral will take place at 3pm local time on Tuesday, it said on Twitter.

The explosion also damaged nearby buildings, including the town hall, as well as cars. The military has sealed off the area and continues to search through the rubble for victims.

Witness Mira Wehbeh, who lives downhill from the explosion site, said Tuesday’s events were reminiscent of the Beirut port blast which she also experienced last year.

“It was so loud. It took our memories back to August 4 — the same terrible thing,” she told The National.

“I thought the windows and doors of my house would explode.”

Ms Wehbeh said when she heard the explosion, she initially thought Lebanon was under attack.

“You know these thoughts cause fear and anxiety among the Lebanese people,” she said.

“The building is completely demolished.” She said more than 20 emergency vehicles arrived at the scene two minutes after the explosion.

A security source told Reuters the explosion was not an act of sabotage, without elaborating.

People gather outside a hospital where some of the people injured in the explosion near Sidon are believed to be receiving treatment. Reuters

On December 10, a large blast rocked a Palestinian camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, injuring about 12 people, according to rescue workers at the scene and a Palestinian source inside the camp.

The state-run National News Agency reported that the blast occurred at a Hamas weapons depot in the Burj Al Shemali camp and a judge ordered security forces to launch an investigation.

Ali Al Raz's funeral will take place at 3pm local time on Tuesday. AP

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