Palestinians killed in Gaza explosion | News | DW | 15.07.2018
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Palestinians killed in Gaza explosion

A blast in Gaza has killed two people and injured one. The explosion comes hours after a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants was announced.

Watch video 01:44

Gaza hit by worst bombing in years

Police said they were investigating the cause of a blast that reportedly killed a father and son and wounded one person in Gaza.

The explosion occurred in a building in the enclave just hours after Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced an Egypt-backed ceasefire.

"An explosion took place this morning in a house west of Gaza City," police spokesman Ayman al-Batnijiy said.

"The police launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion," he added.

The circumstances of the blast remain unclear, but police have not suggested Israel was responsible.

Ceasefire violations

Palestinian militants fired four rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory early Sunday, the Israeli military said, adding that its Iron Dome defense system intercepted one of the projectiles.

Israeli forces also targeted a Hamas mortar shell launch pad on Sunday after the latest rocket attacks.

The Israeli government said it was only hitting militant targets and warned civilians to stay away from certain sites.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Islamic Jihad militant outfit had announced a truce agreement with Israel late Saturday. Israel, however, did not immediately confirm the ceasefire and said its military response to Gaza-based militant groups depended on the intensity of attacks on its territory.

But in an apparent acceptance of the Egypt-mediated truce, the Israeli military said Sunday it had lifted some restrictions along the Gaza border area.

Gaza rocket assaults had forced the Israeli military to shut down a popular beach along the border area. But after a relative calm on Sunday, Israeli authorities announced that residents could resume their daily routines.

Read more: UN votes to blame Israel for excessive force against Palestinians in Gaza

'Hardest blow'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas of severe consequences for its rocket attacks on Israel.

"In consultation with the minister of defense, the chief of staff and the top security command of the state of Israel, we have decided on strong action against Hamas terrorism," Netanyahu said in a video statement on Saturday.

"The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] have struck Hamas with the hardest blow since Operation Protective Edge and we will increase the strength of our attacks as necessary," he added, referring to the 2014 war.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said air force sorties had struck about 40 Hamas targets including battalion headquarters, tunnels and logistical centers.

Two Palestinian boys, aged 15 and 16, were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Saturday, according to Gaza's health ministry. Witnesses said Israeli warplanes dropped four bombs on a building in Gaza City. The boys were nearby and hit by shrapnel.

Israel's Magen David Adom emergency service said it treated a 52-year-old man, a 17-year-old girl and a 20-year-old woman for their injuries after a rocket landed on a residential area in the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

Read more: Hamas official on Gaza bloodshed: 'Not expected to be like this'

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shs/jlw (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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