Gaza blast wounds Palestinians 2Aug10 August 2, 2010

Aljazeera  -  2 August 2010

An explosion at the house of a senior Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip has wounded at least 30 people, Hamas and medical workers in the Palestinian territory have said.

The explosion early on Monday wrecked the house of Alaa al-Danaf, a field commander of the Hamas military wing, in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp in southern Gaza, Palestinian security officials said.

At least 17 people were rushed to a hospital and unconfirmed reports say at least two people were killed in the blast.

Palestinian security officials said it was an Israeli air strike but the Israeli military denied any involvement, saying there was no other activity in the area.

It was unclear if al-Danaf was killed in the blast, which occurred at a time of renewed cross-border violence between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli army.

The explosion badly damaged 12 nearby houses in the refugee camp and rescue teams were digging through the rubble for survivors.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Nicole Johnston reporting from Gaza City said al-Danaf’s body was not found in his house, which was completely destroyed in the explosion.

Our correspondent said damage to neighbouring houses caused dozens of people to be wounded, with at least one person in critical condition.

Earlier on Sunday, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, issued a strong warning to Hamas leaders in Gaza after a weekend of missile attacks on Israeli communities.

No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the violence, which caused damages, but no injuries.

A Hamas commander and rocket-maker was killed in an Israeli air strike at the weekend after a rocket fired from the enclave exploded in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Issa Batran, whose caravan was hit by a missile, was the first Hamas commander killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza since Israel wound up a three-week military offensive against the territory’s Hamas rulers in January 2009.

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