‘Mishandled explosives’ kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza

Islamic Jihad says the deadly explosion near Beit Lahia in northern Gaza was an accident.

Gaza Strip suspected Israeli air strike
Palestinians inspect a damaged motorcycle at the site of an explosion in northern Gaza [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

At least two Palestinians have died in an explosion in Gaza, which Palestinian group Islamic Jihad now says was caused by the men mishandling explosives.

Local news media identified the two people killed on Tuesday as members of al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.

The Associated Press news agency quoted Islamic Jihad as saying that the explosion was an accident.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian health ministry and local news media blamed the deaths on an Israeli air raid.

However, a spokesperson for the Israeli army denied the reports, telling Al Jazeera it did not carry out any attack in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

The Israeli blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip, in its current form, has been in place since June 2007.

Men indentified

The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the two Palestinian youths were killed on a motorcycle near the town of Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip.

The men were killed instantly while dozens of passers-by were also injured by the explosion, WAFA said.

In a statement cited by AFP news agency later on Tuesday that made no mention of an Israeli attack, Islamic Jihad identified the dead men as Hussein Ghazi Nasrallah, 25, and Mustafa al-Sultan, 29, and said they were part of the group’s engineering unit.

The incident came amid ongoing protests in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza over US President Donald Trump‘s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Friday, four Palestinians in Gaza were killed as a result of an Israeli air raid, and another 25 were injured. 

In October, seven Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces destroyed a tunnel in the strip’s southern area.

Since 2008, Israel has launched three offensives on the Gaza Strip.

The latest one, code-named Operation Protective Edge, took place in the summer of 2014 and resulted in the deaths of more than 2,200 Palestinians.

Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli non-combatants were killed in the same period.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies