GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A huge blast leveled the house of a Hamas commander in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp in southern Gaza early today, wounding at least 32 people, according to Palestinian security officials.
They said the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike, but Israel’s military denied that, saying there was no Israeli activity in the area.
The regional Hamas commander, Ala Adnaf, was missing along with another person, and rescue workers were digging through the rubble. Often, bombs being prepared in Gaza houses explode accidentally.
Israel’s prime minister yesterday issued a stern warning to Gaza’s Hamas rulers after a weekend of rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory on Israeli communities.
Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet that Israel holds the Islamic militant group responsible for the rare flare-up in violence and would retaliate for any attack against its people.
“I see the Hamas as directly responsible for any attack that comes from the Gaza Strip toward the state of Israel, and the international community should see it this way as well,’’ Netanyahu said. “Israel reserves the right to defend its citizens.’’
The attacks, including a rocket fired Friday at an Israeli city 6 miles from Gaza, caused damage but no injuries. No Palestinian group took responsibility for the attacks.
Israel responded with a series of airstrikes on militant targets in Gaza, including one that killed a senior commander of the Hamas military wing.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Netanyahu of trying to invent pretexts for new attacks on Hamas.
“Netanyahu and his government bear all the consequences of this escalation,’’ Barhoum said.
Years of rocket fire from Gaza has largely subsided since Israel launched a fierce offensive in the Palestinian territory in December 2008.