2 Palestinians reported dead in Gaza tunnel blast

Cnaan Liphshiz

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

The fatalities from the strike Wednesday, which Hamas’ health minister Ashraf al-Qidra on Thursday said was carried out by Israel, were identified as Hussam Hamid al-Sufi, 24, and Muhammad Anwar al-Aqraa, 38, Ma’an news reported.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson told Ma’an that the army was not involved in the incident.

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 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 the Hamas-controlled enclave, which 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.

The tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons from the south.

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.