Palestinian killed in mysterious Gaza blast identified as head of rocket unit

Ahmad Husan, killed along with son in so-called ‘work accident,’ headed missile division for al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades offshoot, according to Palestinian report

This picture taken on July 14, 2018, shows Palestinian rockets being fired from Gaza toward Israel. (AFP/Bashar Taleb)
This picture taken on July 14, 2018, shows Palestinian rockets being fired from Gaza toward Israel. (AFP/Bashar Taleb)

The head of a missile unit belonging to an offshoot of the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades was killed in a mysterious blast that rocked central Gaza on Sunday morning, Palestinian media reported.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported two Gazans were killed in an explosion in Gaza City. They were named in media reports as Ahmad Husan and his 13-year-old son Louay Husan.

Ahmad Husan was the head of the missile unit of the Ayman Jawda Group of the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, according to the Ma’an news website.

The blast came after a day that saw Hamas-led terrorists in Gaza launch some 200 projectiles into Israel, drawing massive retaliatory airstrikes in one of the heaviest days of cross-border fighting since 2014.

Palestinian boys walk through the wreckage of a building that was damaged by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on July 15, 2018. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)

Details on the Sunday explosion were not immediately released, though some Palestinian media reports indicated the blast was caused by a “work accident.”

The term is often used as a euphemism for an explosion during weapons manufacturing.

During the Second Intifada, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were a coalition of armed groups linked to Fatah that planned and carried out attacks against Israeli military personnel and civilians.

In recent years, the Brigades have largely been inactive, but some groups that claim affiliation to them have continued to operate in Gaza, including Husan’s Ayman Jawda Group.

Talal Okal, an analyst in the Gaza Strip, said in a phone call that the group does not operate under the Ramallah-based Fatah leadership’s command.

It is not known if the organization was responsible for any of the rockets fired on Saturday.

A ceasefire reached Saturday night appeared to hold into Sunday morning, with Israel giving southern residents the all clear to return to their normal routines.

A building in the southern Israeli city of Sderot hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip (Israel Police)

The weekend violence saw four Israelis lightly to moderately wounded when a rocket hit a home in Sderot.

Israel responded by carrying out its largest bombing campaign against Hamas targets in the Strip since the 2014 Gaza war, hitting dozens of targets, including two border-crossing attack tunnels and an urban combat training facility, according to the army.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said two Palestinian teenagers were killed in the Saturday IDF strike on a multistory building sitting over a Hamas tunnel.

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