Report: 4 Killed in Israeli Tank Blast
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A bomb exploded under an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, setting the tank on fire and killing at least four soldiers inside, an Arab satellite television station reported.
The Al-Jazeera station, monitored in Egypt, said four or five soldiers died in the blast in the northern Gaza Strip, near the town of Beit Lahia.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Izzedine al-Qassam, the military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack.
``Our brigades managed to detonate a large bomb under a Zionist army Merkava tank at 8:30 a.m. north of Beit Lahia,″ the group said in a statement faxed to news agencies.
Izzedine al-Qassam said the attack was to avenge the deaths of two Hamas activists who were killed near Beit Lahia in a clash with Israeli troops earlier this week.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said they saw black smoke rising from the tank. Soldiers with water hoses tried to douse the flames as Israeli helicopters hovered above to help with the rescue efforts, the witnesses said.
Palestinian militants in March destroyed a heavily armored Merkava-3 tank that killed three soldiers.