Four Palestinians were killed on Tuesday in a house explosion in the northern Gaza Strip village of Beit Hanoun, in what local officials have termed a work accident.
The ruling Hamas movement reported on its website that the four were activists in its Izz a-Din Al-Qassam military wing, and said that their bodies were transferred to a hospital in Gaza.
According to reports, the blast came from inside the house and was not the result of any external rocket or explosives. Hamas said, however, that aircraft were noted overhead at the time of the accident. The Associated Press said that the explosion occurred as the four were preparing a bomb.
The explosion occurred hours after the Israel Defense Forces struck targets in the Gaza Strip, reportedly killing three. The IDF said it struck an Islamic Jihad cell in response to an attempted mortar shell attack on Israeli forces doing routine operations in the area.
Gaza's Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said the airstrike took place in southeast Khan Younis, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported.
According to Islamic Jihad, the three killed were militant members of the group, identified in Gaza reports as Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and Abd al-Shafi Muammar, 33. Their bodies were taken to the European hospital in Khan Younis. A fourth person was also reportedly moderately wounded.
In a separate event Tuesday morning, a malfunctioning Israel Air Forcedrone crashed in the southern Gaza Strip, prompting an Israel Defense Forces investigation. The IDF Gaza Division decided to ground the Skylark 1 drone system until the investigation is concluded. However, it is still active in other areas such as the Golan Heights.
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