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In Gaza, canister blast kills 6, Israel stages bombings

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 6 dead, 16 injured in Rafah tunnel blast
  • Israel bombs tunnel in southern Gaza
  • Active use of tunnels for smuggling

(CNN) -- Violence erupted in Gaza tunnels on Saturday when a gas canister explosion in one tunnel killed six Palestinians and the Israeli Air Force bombed another that it said would be used for terror attacks.

Palestinian medical officials confirmed the deaths and said 16 others were wounded in a tunnel at Rafah near the Egyptian border.

Tunnels between borders have been used by people in the economically struggling and politically restive territory of Gaza to smuggle contraband, from everyday goods to weaponry for militants, and to infiltrate Israel.

As for the Israeli bombings, no injuries were reported, Israeli military and Palestinian officials in Gaza said.

The strikes were in response to an "intended terror attack on Israel" and a rocket fired at Israel on Thursday, the Israeli military said in a statement.

Israeli planes hit a weapons manufacturing plant in the northern part of the territory and a tunnel in the south, the military said. Militants planned to use the tunnel to infiltrate Israel and conduct terror attacks against soldiers and civilians, it said.

Five airstrikes hit targets in Gaza, Palestinian officials said. Four hit an international airport in Gaza that has not functioned for years, and a fifth hit a metal workshop, they said.