GAZA (Reuters) - Two Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants riding on a motorcycle in Gaza were killed in an explosion on Tuesday which the group implied was caused by an accidental detonation during preparations for an attack.
Israel’s military denied accounts by local residents that the militants were killed in an air strike.
Violence along the Israel-Gaza border has flared since U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition last week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Israeli military’s demolition on Sunday of a cross-border tunnel it said was dug by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the small coastal enclave.
On Monday, Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a rocket fired by militants in Gaza. Shortly afterward, Israel responded with tank fire and air strikes targeting positions of Hamas.
In a statement after Tuesday’s explosion, Islamic Jihad said: “We mourn the men - ‘martyrs of preparation’”. The group usually employs the term to refer to casualties caused by the accidental detonation of weapons or explosives used in attacks against Israel.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem