GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas said on Wednesday that explosions that killed three police officers in Gaza on Tuesday were carried out by two suicide bombers and that an investigation was underway to discover who sent them.
Such attacks on Hamas, which has the most powerful armed apparatus in the Palestinian enclave, are rare but the group has at times faced internal opposition from more stringent Islamist militants aligned with al Qaeda or Islamic State.
“Two persons blew themselves up at two police checkpoints in Gaza (Tuesday) night,” Eyad Al-Bozom, spokesman of the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, told Reuters.
“We uncovered their identities and are continuing an investigation to discover the party that stood behind them,” he said.
Bozom said the aim of the attacks was to “spread chaos and security anarchy in Gaza”.
Two police officers were killed and a third Palestinian was wounded by the first blast. Less than an hour later, a second explosion killed one officer and wounded several people at another checkpoint.
Security forces loyal to Hamas beefed up their presence on Gaza’s main streets on Wednesday, inspecting cars and detaining a number of people for questioning in connection with Tuesday’s bombings.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem)