At least two Palestinians were killed and five injured on Saturday evening in an explosion in an apartment in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.
The cause of the blast was not immediately known, but there were suggestions it was the result of mishandling of explosives.
Hadashot TV news reported that the family in whose home the explosion occurred is affiliated with Fatah, Hamas’s Palestinian rival, which was violently overthrown by the terror group now ruling Gaza in 2007.
By contrast, Haaretz reported that the apartment held firecrackers and other explosives, and cited a Palestinian source as saying there were indications the alleged lab belonged to Hamas’s armed wing.
The paper also said the two Gazans killed were 17-year-old Mouayed Hals and Dia al-Arar, also 17.
Earlier Saturday, Israeli firefighters battled five blazes sparked by incendiary devices flown toward Israeli communities from Gaza.
Israeli leaders have been split on how to respond to those responsible for the airborne arson attacks, with some calling for the IDF to shoot the kite flyers and balloon launchers on sight, while others argue that it would be a step too far.
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched countless kites, balloons, and inflated latex condoms bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks, and forests.
Saturday’s fires come a day after the Hamas-run health ministry said two Palestinians were killed Friday in violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.
A 13-year-old was fatally shot in the head and a 24-year-old man died of gunshot wounds to his leg and abdomen, the ministry said.
According to some reports, the boy was shot while sabotaging the border fence. A paramedic told AP the teenager was throwing stones “very close to the fence” when he was shot.
Reports from his funeral Saturday named him as Yasser Abu al-Naja, and said he was the son of senior “commander” in the Hamas terror group’s military wing. AFP put his age at 11. Thousands of Gazans attended the funeral, with mourners demanding “revenge.”
Around 5,000 Palestinians demonstrated Friday at five points along the border. Rioters burned tires and attacked Israeli forces with rocks and Molotov cocktails. At one point a bomb was hurled at troops.
Fifteen fires broke out in Israel Friday due to incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip.