Five Palestinians were killed when a bomb exploded in Gaza on Wednesday near the nominal border with Israel. The ministry of health in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip said that the explosion happened as fighting took place during the commemoration of the Israeli army’s withdrawal from the besieged territory in 2005.
With hundreds of Palestinians gathering to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Oslo Accords as well as the Israeli withdrawal, dozens congregated near the border fence. Fighting broke out between them and Israeli forces, according to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and eyewitnesses.
Both the IDF and the Follow-up Committee of the National and Islamic Forces confirmed that the explosion was caused by a bomb on the Palestinian side of the fence.
It was reported by AFP that Al-Shifa Hospital received the bodies of the five people killed, and treated 19 people who were wounded in the explosion, some of them seriously.
The explosion happened shortly after the end of a festival organised by the Palestinian factions in Malka camp, which is hundreds of metres away from the border fence. A security source in the Gaza Strip, who asked for anonymity, confirmed that the explosion occurred “metres away from the concrete separation wall.”
According to an Israeli army spokesman, “violent riots” with “hundreds of rioters” took place near the nominal border. “An attempt to launch an explosive device at our forces was detected, and the bomb exploded in the Gaza Strip, wounding a number of people who were near it. There were no casualties among our forces.”
An AFP photographer witnessed tear gas grenades being thrown from the Israeli side, which fell near the Palestinians within the Gaza Strip. Some were picked up and thrown back at the Israeli soldiers.
The Follow-up Committee described the explosion as “accidental”. Nevertheless, it held Israel “fully responsible for every drop of Palestinian blood that is shed.”