The explosion that killed three Gaza fishermen on Sunday was caused by an explosives-laden Israeli drone that blew up after being caught in their nets, the Hamas government in Gaza said Thursday.
Eyad Al-Bozom, spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza, held a press conference on Thursday in which he displayed a photo allegedly depicting the drone involved in the incident. The Islamic Jihad organization vowed to retaliate after Hamas attributed the Palestinians’ deaths to Israel.
The Israeli military said following the deaths of the three Palestinians that it had no connection to the attack, while the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights urged Hamas to publish details of the investigation into the incident on Tuesday after its own appraisal found that they were killed by gunfire from one of the enclave’s armed factions. Al-Bozom denied Al Mezan’s findings and said Palestinian factions had not been involved.
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The human rights group’s findings prompted widespread criticism in Gaza of armed factions operating in the area. Sources in Gaza that do not identify with Hamas or Islamic Jihad, the main factions in the enclave, said Thursday that the organizations’ announcements were meant to steer attention away from the victims and shake off responsibility for the incident.