An explosion has hit the French Cultural Centre in Gaza City, the second blast at the building since October.

The blast occurred late on Friday when the site was virtually empty as the centre was closed for the weekend.

Security sources said the blast, whose cause was unclear, damaged a wall of the building which also provides consular services for the French government, but no casualties were reported.

Flying shrapnel also hurt part of the building's interior, they said.

The centre is run by the French consulate in Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Ayman Betjeni said "this was a cowardly attack and unfortunately the second incident of this sort in... two months.

"It seems as if there are elements who want to disturb Gaza's security and are targeting foreigners to intimidate them and give a bad image of Gaza."

The cultural centre is one of the few remaining Western diplomatic outposts in Gaza, which is controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies