2 Palestinians reported dead in Gaza tunnel blast


(JTA) — Two Palestinians were killed and five were injured in what Gaza authorities said was an airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ health minister, Ashraf al-Qidra, said Thursday, the day after the strike, that it was carried out by Israel, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman told Maan that the army was not involved in the incident.

Maan identified the two fatalities as men aged 24 and 38.

On Wednesday, four rockets were fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula towards the southern Israeli city of Eilat. No casualties were reported in the incident, which an affiliate of the Islamic State group said it had carried out.

A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below Hamas-controlled enclave. They are largely used for smuggling in the south and military purposes in the north.

Both Israel and Egypt have targeted the tunnels for destruction in the past.

On Thursday, six people were wounded in a shooting attack in the central Israeli city of Petach Tikvah.

Israeli police said a 19-year-old Palestinian man, Sadeq Nasser Awda from Nablus, opened fire Thursday afternoon near an outdoor market, Army Radio reported. The alleged assailant was arrested at the scene.

None of the wounded suffered life-threatening injuries, according to media reports.

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