Booby-trapped Israeli drones exploded and led to the death of three Palestinian fishermen in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, findings of an investigation by the enclave's Ministry of Interior revealed today.
In a press conference to outline the outcomes of the report into the deaths, ministry spokesman Iyad Al-Bazm said the men were killed by occupation forces off the coast of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Al-Bazm explained that occupation forces had used "drones carrying high-explosive devices" in an operation against resistance naval forces on 22 February, adding: "On the morning of March 7, two drones were suspended in the nets of two fishing boats in the sea off Khan Yunis."
The fishermen handed the first drone – Matrix 600 quadcopter – to Maritime Police, they later found a second had stuck to their nets. The investigation found that this had exploded and led to their deaths.
READ: Israel tanks invade Gaza, open fire at farmers
Al-Bazm added that when inspecting the intact helicopter that was recovered by the fishermen, it was found that it had an explosive device attached to it. The pieces of the wreckage and the metal pieces that were found at the site of the explosion were then compared to the intact drone and it was found that they were identical.
On behalf of the Ministry of Interior and National Security, Al-Bazm paid his respects to the families of the three martyrs; Muhammad Hijazi Al-Laham, Zakaria Hijazi Al-Laham and Yahya Mustafa Al-Laham, two brothers and a cousin.
He called on all international institutions and bodies to work to provide protection for Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza Strip, highlighting that they are constantly exposed to attack at the hands of occupation forces.
The three were killed on Sunday after a blast ripped through their boat off the Gaza shore. The Israeli military has previously said it was not involved in this incident.