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Palestinian human rights group accuses Hamas of hiding arms in civilian areas

Explosion in alleged Hamas weapons depot last week killed one civilian, wounded several

Illustrative - Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike on the armed wing of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, June 18, 2021. (Photo: Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Palestinian human rights groups have urged Hamas and other terrorist organizations to stop storing their weapons in residential areas, following another lethal explosion that left one civilian dead and 14 wounded last Thursday. 

The groups also demanded a detailed investigation of the incident in order to identify and hold the culprits accountable. The explosion reportedly took place in a Gaza Strip warehouse used by Hamas, the ruling terrorist regime, for storing arms. Israel has repeatedly urged the international community to condemn Hamas’ double war crimes of targeting Israeli civilians while using Gazan civilians as human shields. 

However, much of the international community has so far largely turned a blind eye to Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s practice of endangering civilian Gazan lives by deliberately embedding their military infrastructure in residential areas. 

The warehouse, which was partially damaged in the explosion, is located in the Al-Zawiya market era in the center of the densely populated Gaza City. According to local Gazan sources, the fatality was identified as 69-year-old Atta Ahmed Saqallah. In addition, six of the 14 wounded civilians are children. Referring to medical sources at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, the Palestinian Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that one of the injured was in critical condition. The Hamas regime claimed to have launched an investigation into the matter but did not provide any further details. 

One of the worst-kept secrets in Gaza is the fact that one of Hamas’ main command centers is located beneath the Shifa Hospital. Senior Hamas commanders reportedly hid there during several conflicts, knowing that Israel would go to extreme lengths to avoid hitting civilian targets. 

The Gaza-based human rights organization released a statement expressing concern and stressed that the recent explosion was only the latest of many incidents threatening civilian lives in Gaza. 

“Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza views the explosion incident with grave seriousness, as there have been repeated incidents of internal explosions in houses in overcrowded residential neighborhoods for various reasons in the past, which resulted in the killing of a number of civilians and the destruction of homes and public and private properties,” the organization said.

It also stressed the need for a serious investigation to put an end to these life-threatening incidents. 

“Accordingly, Al-Mezan reiterates its call for a comprehensive and serious investigation into this incident and other similar events, to publish the results of the investigation publicly, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that it does not recur in order to preserve the lives and property of citizens.”

Hamas deliberately chooses popular markets and densely populated areas as hiding places for its ammunition because it knows that Israel avoids targeting such areas, according to Palestinian author Fadel Al-Manasfeh. He also pointed out that more than 10 civilian Gazans were killed and dozens wounded during a similar open market explosion in Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp last year. 

Meanwhile, Israel’s military hit a Hamas terrorist base located close to a school in Gaza late on Sunday. The Israeli military operation was a response to the recent incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza that caused fires in southern Israel. The Hamas leadership is simultaneously threatening to escalate its attacks against Israel in an effort to pressure Jerusalem to allow funds from Qatar to reach the Hamas regime. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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