A member of the armed wing of the Palestinian terror group Hamas died Friday when a tunnel collapsed in the Gaza Strip near the Israeli border, Hamas and medical sources said.
The sources did not say why the tunnel, located in eastern Shejaiya in northern Gaza, collapsed.
A statement from izz ad-Dine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of de facto Gaza rulers Hamas, said a member was killed in the collapse of “a resistance tunnel.”
Hamas has created a network of underground tunnels that enable the movement of arms and fighters throughout the coastal Palestinian enclave. Some extend into Israel, and were used to carry out attacks during the July-August 2014 war with the Jewish state.
The Israeli army did its best to destroy the tunnel network during the 50-day conflict, but it says that Gaza terror groups have since resumed work on the infrastructure.
The Egyptian army has destroyed some 1,600 tunnels on its border with Gaza, used primarily to smuggle goods into the Palestinian enclave, since having ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
A spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said two others were “moderately injured” in the tunnel collapse.
A Palestinian source said the collapse occurred while terrorists were conducting “resistance-related activities,” a possible reference to weapon transfers or training.
In a separate incident, Hamas said Israeli tanks had carried out a limited incursion into Gaza near Shejaiya, without linking the events. The Israeli army said it was checking the report.