After yet another fatal explosion in the terrorist-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinians have demanded Hamas and other terror groups stop storing weapons in residential areas.
Thursday’s blast, which killed an elderly man and injured 14, took place in a warehouse for storing weapons belonging to Hamas, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Local human rights groups called on Hamas to conduct a thorough investigation into the explosion. Hamas said it would investigate but provided no further details.
The explosion occurred by a residential home located in the Al-Zawiya market area in the center of Gaza City, the coastal enclave’s densely populated capital. The Post cited Palestinian sources as saying 69-year-old Atta Ahmed Saqallah died and 14 civilians were injured, including six children.
The Palestinian Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said the the three-story house was partially destroyed and adjacent houses and shops also sustained damage.
“Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza views the explosion incident with grave seriousness, as there have been repeated incidents of internal explosions in houses in overcrowded residential neighborhoods for various reasons in the past, which resulted in the killing of a number of civilians and the destruction of homes and public and private properties,” a statement from the center read.
“Accordingly, Al-Mezan reiterates its call for a comprehensive and serious investigation into this incident and other similar events, to publish the results of the investigation publicly, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that it does not recur in order to preserve the lives and property of citizens.”
The Palestinian NGO Network, an umbrella organization comprising 133 member organizations, also called for a “serious and transparent” probe into the blast. “The Network stresses the need to expedite the provision of all forms of assistance and support to those affected,” the group said. “It also stresses the need to announce the results of the investigation and to take serious measures to prevent such explosions from happening again.”
Palestinian writer Fadel Al-Manasfeh commented that Hamas purposely selects popular markets as a safe place for its ammunition warehouses because it knows that Israel will not target such population centers. He added that Hamas was “confused” by the explosion because one of its weapons warehouses had been discovered, the report said.
He also noted a similar explosion took place in an open market in the Nuseirat refugee camp last year, killing more than 10 Palestinians and injuring dozens others.
Israel regularly condemns Hamas for using Gazan Palestinians as human shields. In the recent 11-day conflict, the Israeli military said reporters from Al Jazeera and the Associated Press were used as human shields in a media tower that the terror group operated from.