GAZA CITY: Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said on Tuesday the rocket from Gaza that hit a house in Israel last week launched due to a technical error, his first official statement on the strike.
The rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip on March 25 destroyed a house north of Tel Aviv and injured seven Israelis.
Israel responded by striking a series of Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave, including flattening Haniya’s office, before Egypt brokered a ceasefire that prevented a full conflict.
In his comments on Tuesday, Haniya said the rocket was “due to a technical defect, but was a mini demonstration if (Israel) thought to commit folly against the Palestinian people.”
The statement from his office said he made the remarks during a meeting with political analysts.
He did not provide further details on what type of technical defect could have caused the launch.
Previously only unnamed officials from Hamas, the militant movement that rules Gaza, have said the rocket was fired due to a technical error.
Following the latest ceasefire, Hamas said Egypt had brokered a truce that would see Israel ease its crippling blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm. Israeli government has not publicly commented on the reported agreement.
An Egyptian security delegation visited Gaza late Monday and met with Hamas.
Haniya said the delegation brought a timetable from the Israeli side for implementing the agreements.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry in the Strip said that a Palestinian wounded three days ago during clashes along the Gaza border died Tuesday, bringing to five the number of fatalities from the day.
Faris Abu Hajaras, 26, was shot by Israeli fire in his stomach east of Khan Yunis Saturday and succumbed to his wounds Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered in different spots along the Gaza border Saturday for the first anniversary of the often violent protests there.
At least 263 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests and clashes began a year ago.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period in Gaza-related violence.