GAZA CITY AND JERUSALEM: Thirty-three Palestinians were injured early Monday by a mystery explosion in Deir al Balah refugee camp south of Gaza City, Palestinian medics reported.
The blast occurred in a house where an activist of the armed wing of Hamas lives, seriously injuring a woman. The other residents were only slightly injured.
Security services of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the house had been hit by an Israeli bombardment but an Israeli military spokesman formally denied this, saying the army had not launched any operations.
Israeli warplanes had launched two pre-dawn raids on tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday after a Palestinian rocket struck the southern town of Sderot, damaging a university building without causing casualties.
On the other hand, the Israeli military says it will assign officers to protect civilians in combat zones during wartime.
The move appears to be a response to international criticism of Israel for high civilian death tolls in recent wars in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
The military says an officer in each battalion will be responsible for planning and marking evacuation corridors for civilians in combat areas.
Lt. Col. Shuki Shine says the officer will specify where soldiers cannot shoot and will also ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Palestinians and human rights groups say more than 900 civilians died during Israel’s three-week offensive in Gaza last year. Lebanese say more than 1,100 people died during Israel’s 2006 offensive in Lebanon.