An explosion in a tunnel near Gaza’s border with Israel killed at least five members of Hamas and wounded several others Thursday, Palestinian officials said.
“Five martyrs were killed in a resistance activity in Saghira neighborhood” in eastern Gaza City, the local Hamas information office said, without elaborating.
The Hamas members were reportedly taking part in “operational activities” when the tunnel collapsed, Palestinian media reported.
The IDF was not available for comment with regard to the incident.
On Wednesday, sources in Gaza told the Times of Israel that citizens in the Strip were preparing for war after Israel accused Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teens.
Israeli forces, aided by PA security, have been engaged in a widespread operation against Hamas in the West Bank since the kidnapping Thursday night south of Jerusalem of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, 16.
As of Thursday, approximately 250 people had been detained in the operation, according to the IDF.
Gaza residents have expressed concern that an escalation could disrupt preparations for the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which begins in 10 days. The weeks before the holiday are known for intensive shopping, and residents have reported shortages of fuel and other supplies at gas stations and stores in Gaza as a result of a deepening economic crisis.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.