Palestinian human rights groups are calling on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to stop using civilian areas as places to store weapons after a deadly explosion happened last week after a home used for storing weapons exploded.

The explosion occurred by a residential home located in the Al-Zawiya market area in the centre of Gaza City, the coastal enclave’s densely populated capital. In the blast, a 69-year-old, Atta Ahmed Saqallah, died and 14 civilians were injured, including six children. Shops and homes around the blast zone were damaged.

It is a war crime to store weapons near residential areas.

The Palestinian Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said:

“Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza views the explosion incident with grave seriousness, as there have been repeated incidents of internal explosions in houses in overcrowded residential neighbourhoods for various reasons in the past, which resulted in the killing of a number of civilians and the destruction of homes and public and private properties,” a statement from the centre read.

“Accordingly, Al-Mezan reiterates its call for a comprehensive and serious investigation into this incident and other similar events, to publish the results of the investigation publicly, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that it does not recur in order to preserve the lives and property of citizens.”

The Palestinian NGO Network, an umbrella organization comprising 133 member organizations, also called for a “serious and transparent” probe into the blast. “The Network stresses the need to expedite the provision of all forms of assistance and support to those affected,” the group said. “It also stresses the need to announce the results of the investigation and to take serious measures to prevent such explosions from happening again.”

The Palestinian NGO Network, an umbrella organization comprising 133 member organizations, also called for a “serious and transparent” probe into the blast. “The Network stresses the need to expedite the provision of all forms of assistance and support to those affected,” the group said. “It also stresses the need to announce the results of the investigation and to take serious measures to prevent such explosions from happening again.”

Israel regularly condemns Hamas for using civilians as human shields. Hamas and other terror groups are well known for storing weapons inside mosques, hospitals, homes and other places. They build terror tunnels under the streets of Gaza and force Israel to strike near civilian areas because they have embedded their terror infrastructure inside them.

It is high time the world woke up to Hamas’s war crimes. It is right for Palestinian groups to condemn these atrocities.

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