Hamas blames Israel for Gaza blast that killed six gunmen | News | DW | 06.05.2018
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Hamas blames Israel for Gaza blast that killed six gunmen

Six people have been killed in an unexplained explosion in Gaza. Hamas has announced that the dead were all members of its military wing's forces, blaming the incident on Israel, which declined comment.

Six Hamas militants were killed and three injured on Saturday evening in a mysterious explosion at a house in the town of Zawayda in the central Gaza Strip. A statement from the Palestinian Islamist group's armed wing called the incident a "deplorable Zionist crime" perpetrated against its fighters.

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"During a complicated security and intelligence operation conducted by Qassam Brigades to investigate a serious and a grave security incident conducted by the Zionist enemy against Palestinian resistance, a deplorable crime took place against our Mujahideen in the area of Zawayda in central Gaza Strip," it said.

A source close to Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the six were all militants, and members of the group's engineering unit.

The exact circumstances of the blast were unclear and Hamas, which is in control of the Gaza Strip, provided no further details. An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on the incident, although a more junior official had earlier denied the Israeli army was involved. There was no immediate indication that the explosion was the result of an Israeli strike.

Some explosions in the past in the Gaza Strip have resulted from the accidental detonation of explosive materials belonging to militant groups.

'Great March of Return'

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis are once again high, as thousands of Palestinians have been gathering for weekly protests dubbed "The Great March of Return" along the Gaza border on Fridays for the past six weeks, often clashing with authorities and resulting in 43 Palestinian deaths.

The protest campaign is scheduled to run until May 15, when organizers expect a million people to turn out to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians call the "nakba" or "catastrophe," marking their displacement during the Arab-Israeli War.

Two-thirds of the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are war refugees or their descendants.

ss/bw (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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