The military wing of Hamas on Sunday said an explosion that killed six of its men was caused by an Israeli espionage device that self-destructed after being discovered.
The large explosion that rocked the central Gaza Strip Saturday night had initially been blamed in Palestinian media reports on a so-called “work accident.”
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror group, said the explosion had been triggered when a “technological espionage system” planted by Israel was opened.
The terrorist group said it held Israel directly responsible for the incident and that the country would “pay dearly” for its actions.
Scene of explosion in Central #Gaza Strip. 4 Palestinians killed. This is being reported as an ‘accidental explosion’ which usually involves members of Islamic resistance groups. pic.twitter.com/hdzxF6vnPh
— Joe (@Jtruzmah) May 5, 2018
It also vowed revenge against Israel for the large blast, promising to “settle the score” with the “occupying enemy.”
A statement said that important details about the explosion would be revealed at a later stage.
The IDF said on Saturday it was unaware of the cause of the explosion and had no connection to the incident.
Palestinian reports initially blamed the blast on a “work accident” — a term usually used to describe the accidental detonation of explosives being prepared by one of the terror groups in the Strip.
The comments from Hamas came as thousands of people turned out in Gaza Sunday for funerals for those killed.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry identified the six dead as Taher Essam Shahin, 29, Wissam Ahmed, 37, Musa Ibrahim Salman, 30, Mahmoud Walid, 34, Mahmoud Mohammed al-Touashi, 27, and Mahmoud Saeed Hilmi al-Qshahawi, 27.
The incident comes amid tensions along the security fence in recent weeks, with the Palestinians holding mass marches near the border, and in some cases rioting.
Israel says the violence is being orchestrated by Hamas, which it accuses of trying to carry out border attacks under the cover of large protests.