A bomb exploded at a major junction in the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing six Palestinians including Amar Masbach, a senior member of Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam military wing. Notably, Masbach survived an Israeli assassination attempt last year, after elite troops attempted to kill him in the Strip.
Four other Hamas men were killed in the blast, including Iyad al-Haya, the cousin of senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya. Osama, al-Haya's son, was among the wounded. A girl who happened to be in the area was also killed. More than 15 people were wounded in the explosion, west of Gaza City. The blast is believed to be related to intra-Palestinian tensions.
The circumstances of the blast were not immediately clear. According to one report, the explosion occurred while the two Hamas men were carrying explosive devices. A gas tank was apparently found in their vehicle. However, another possibility is that the blast was a deliberate attack on Hamas members.
Hamas said the explosion was the work of "gangs of agents," apparently hinting that Fatah members were responsible for the blast. Hamas also said that those killed in the explosion were out on a trip organized by a Gaza mosque.
Soon after the blast, Hamas said the bomb had been planted near a place where Hamas police cars park, but that there were no officers present during the detonation. The dead and wounded were passersby on their way to the beach, medical officials in Gaza said.
The attack was the third of its kind on Friday, making for one of the biggest flare-ups in apparent internal violence since Hamas routed the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction to seize control of Gaza a year ago.
Gaza had been relatively calm since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold last month.
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