x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Five killed in Gaza blast

At least four Palestinian activists and a five-year-old girl were killed in a car explosion outside Gaza City.

A Palestinian Hamas police officer stands guard as others inspect a damaged car following an explosion in Gaza City yesterday.
A Palestinian Hamas police officer stands guard as others inspect a damaged car following an explosion in Gaza City yesterday.

At least four Palestinian activists and a five-year-old girl were killed last night in a car explosion near a beach outside Gaza City, according to officials at the Shifa hospital. Hospital officials said that 15 people were wounded in the blast. The activists killed in the explosion were members of the Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, they said. The cause of the explosion is not known, but it was said to have occurred near a car in which the activists were travelling in.

The activists have been identified as Iyad al-Aya, Amir Al-Sabeh, Nidal Moubeihed and Oussama Alhelo. A Hamas leader, Hallil al-Aya, and the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades accused Palestinian "groups who co-operate with the (Israeli) enemy" of being responsible for the explosion. "These groups are trying to undermine the security of the Palestinian people and are thereby helping the enemy," Mr Aya said, calling on Hamas officials and fighters to be careful.

Mr Aya and the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades did not directly accuse the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement of having been involved in the attack. Dozens of supporters of the Hamas rival Fatah were arrested after the explosion, and the Hamas government plans set a meeting today to discuss the incident. Yesterday night's blast was the third of the day. In the first, a man was killed while setting off a bomb outside a cafe. The second was detonated outside the home of a Hamas lawmaker.

* AFP with AP