Hamas: Blast not connected to Israeli strike
Hamas admitted on Friday that a massive house blast that killed seven of its fighters and a four-month-old baby in the Gaza Strip the previous day was not caused by Israeli forces. "Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were trying to prepare for a Jihad operation," the movement's armed wing said in a statement.
"An error occurred and led to the explosion and they were martyred," said Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for the Brigades, saying the exact cause was unclear because all those involved were killed.
It said six members of the brigades were killed in the blast in Beit Lahya. A local leader of the Hamas armed wing died of his wounds on Friday, a doctor at Shiffa hospital in Gaza City said, according to AFP.
Hamas initially blamed Thursday's explosion on an Israeli air strike, but the Israeli military denied involvement.
About 50 people were wounded, among them 15 children, in the blast, according to the head of emergency services in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanin. The explosion destroyed a house and damaged about 10 neighbouring homes, witnesses said.