Photo Credit: Islamic Jihad website

Residents of the southern city of Sderot said they heard an explosion Saturday morning but were unclear about the source.

However, the IDF explained “terrorists in Gaza tried to … prepare explosives to attack Israel. What terrorists in Gaza actually did [instead, was] cause an explosion in a civilian area inside Gaza.”

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The Abu Ali Express blog reported that a Fatah-linked source said the sounds of the blast were due to the explosion of a rocket that was being stored at a house in the northeastern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.

The rocket that blew up was allegedly a “Bader 3” and it was being stored in the home of Ahmad Nahatz al-Qafarna along with other munitions, according to blogger Abu Ali.

A second Fatah-linked source said the weapons cache that exploded Saturday morning was being stored in the home of a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

According to reports in Palestinian Authority media and at least one Israeli source, some 36 people were injured in the explosion, which may have been a “work accident” that occurred while terrorists were involved in working on the munitions.

One home was completely destroyed, six sustained serious damage and more than a dozen others were slightly damaged.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, and its associated Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group are notorious for using Gaza’s civilians as human shields — it is a practice they have carried out during each of their wars with Israel over the past two decades.

IDF Arabic-language spokesperson Lt. Col. Avichai Adraee commented in a tweet: “The story of this house is the story of many other homes in the Gaza Strip that have become weapons and missiles warehouses for terrorist organizations. Those who end up paying the price are the innocent civilians.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.