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'Mishandled explosives' kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza

Islamic Jihad says the deadly explosion near Beit Lahia in northern Gaza was an accident.

damaged motorcycle

At least two Palestinians have died in an explosion in Gaza, which Palestinian group Islamic Jihad now says was caused by the men mishandling explosives.

Local media identified the two people killed as members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.

The group said the explosion was an accident, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian Health Ministry and local media blamed the deaths on an Israeli air raid.

However, a spokesperson for the Israeli army denied the reports, saying that it did not carry out an attack in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Two Palestinian youth were killed on a motorcycle near the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The men were killed instantly, while dozens of passersby were also injured by the explosion, the agency reported.

In a statement that made no mention of an Israeli attack, Islamic Jihad identified the men as Hussein Ghazi Nasrallah, 25, and Mustafa al-Sultan, 29, and said they were part of the group's engineering unit, AFP reported.

The incident comes amid ongoing protests in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza over US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Friday, four Palestinians in Gaza were killed as a result of an Israeli air raid, and another 25 were injured. 

In October, seven Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces destroyed a tunnel in the strip's southern area.

Since 2008, Israel has launched three offensives on the Gaza Strip.

The latest one, code-named Operation Protective Edge, took place in the summer of 2014 and resulted in the deaths of more than 2,200 Palestinians.

Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli non-combatants were killed in the same period.

The Israeli blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip, in its current form, has been in place since June 2007.

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