At least one person was killed in an explosion reported at the Rafah home of a senior terrorist in the Gaza Strip Saturday evening, Palestinian officials said.
Adham Abu Salima, a Gaza Health Ministry official, said the house belonged to Popular Resistance Committees Secretary-General Zuheir Qeisi.
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Five or six Palestinians were wounded in the mysterious explosion, sources in Gaza said.
Eyewitnesses said the huge Rafah blast could be heard far away and that the house was completely burned down. The initial explosion was reportedly followed by several smaller blasts.
The IDF said it was unfamiliar with the incident. Witnesses said there was no sign of Israeli military activity in the area.
The PRC later released a statement saying that Qeisi was not killed in the blast. The group said the explosion was caused by a malfunction and was not a result of an Israeli strike.
The Popular Resistance Committees were involved, among other things, in Gilad Shalit's abduction to the Gaza Strip in June 2006. Qeisi himself was interviewed by the al-Hayat newspaper following the Israeli soldier's release and claimed that Shalit was held "in better, more humane conditions than the conditions accorded to prisoners held by Israel."
In August of 2011, the IDF killed six PRC members, including the group's military commander, following the terror offensive near Eilat that claimed the lives of eight Israelis. Some of the terrorists killed in the Israeli airstrike were involved in the Shalit abduction.
Tensions have been growing in Gaza in recent days, with terror groups sustained several casualties. Late Thursday, IDF tanks opened fire on a terror cell operating east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, Palestinian sources said.
Medical officials in the Hamas-ruled territory said two people who sustained moderate wounds in the Israeli shelling were evacuated to a hospital in Deir el-Balah
Yoav Zitun contributed to the report
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