Blast in Gaza wounds 24 Palestinians

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Gaza, Aug 2: An explosion in the house of a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip has wounded 24 people, a Hamas official and medical workers in the Palestinian territory said on Monday, Aug 2.

Hamas blamed Israel for the explosion, which it said targeted field commander Alaa al-Danaf.

The explosion destroyed the house and badly damaged several nearby houses.

However, the Israeli military, through an army spokesperson, denied any involvement, saying it had not launched any strikes in the area.

Medical workers said the blast had wounded 24 people inside and outside Al-Danaf's house. It was unclear if he was killed in the blast, which occurred at a time of renewed cross-border violence between militants and the Israeli army.

A Hamas commander and rocket-maker was killed in an Israeli air strike at the weekend after a rocket fired from the enclave exploded in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Issa Batran, whose caravan was hit by a missile, was the first Hamas commander killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza since Israel wound up a three-week military offensive against the territory''s Hamas Islamist rulers in Jan 2009.

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