Three Palestinian fishermen were killed Sunday after a blast ripped through their boat off the Gaza shore, officials said.
Nezar Ayyash, of the association that represents fishermen, said the anglers — two brothers and a cousin — Mouhamad, Zachariah and Yahya Lahem, were plying their trade off the coast of the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip when the explosion happened.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
Palestinian media reports blamed Israeli navy fire, but the IDF said it was not involved in this incident. The Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza said it opened an investigation.
Minutes before the explosion, local media reported that Hamas, the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, was test-firing rockets toward the sea.
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.