Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
A Gaza fisherman walks on the beach near the sea in Khan Younis on March 10, 2019.

Three fishermen sailing off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Sunday were killed by an explosion, possibly by a Hamas rocket test.

The three men, two brothers and a cousin identified as Mouhamad, Zachariah and Yahya Lahem, were killed at sea when an explosion occurred near their boat.

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The IDF stated that it was not involved in the incident and had not fired on the boat, refuting local accusations that it caused the explosion.

Sources reported that Hamas had conducted a rocket test-firing on Sunday morning, and that may have been the cause of the deadly incident.

Daoud Kuttab, an Arab journalist with Al-Monitor and Arab News, reported that the fishermen were killed when a “rocket fired by mistake most likely from Palestinians hit them.”

“Will anyone be held accountable for this lack of respect to human life?” he demanded in a tweet.

Hamas has announced it has launched an investigation into the incident.

Hamas regularly launches rockets into the sea off of Gaza as part of its efforts to developed and test its weaponry.

Since Israel decimated Hamas’ terror infrastructure during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Hamas has been working to rehabilitate its networks and replenish and develop its weapons stockpiles.

The Gaza-based terror groups have been successful in replenishing their rocket stockpiles, and are estimated to have at least 10,000 rockets in their possession.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.