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Hamas claimed responsibility for an explosion in a house in northern Gaza that killed seven Palestinians, one of them an infant girl, last Thursday.

An announcement Friday on the official Web site of Hamas' military wing said the group's martyrs died while putting the final touches on a plan to carry out a special holy war mission.

Five militants died in the explosion, which flattened the house. Immediately after the blast, Hamas blamed Israel, and militants in Gaza launched a barrage of rockets and mortar shells at the western Negev in apparent response. But Israel denied involvement and said the explosion occured while militants were making bombs.

The militant group later suggested the explosion was accidental. Friday's statement was the first explicit acknowledgment that the blast was caused by explosives in the house.