Gaza blast targets French cultural center


Palestinian police inspect a damaged wall of the French Cultural Center in Gaza City on December 12, 2014 after an explosion.

A Palestinian was injured late Friday in an explosion that occurred near the French Cultural Center in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza police spokesman Ayman al-Batneiji told Ma’an news agency that the explosion injured one Palestinian.

Batneiji added that the Gaza police, explosives engineering, and criminal investigations departments arrived at the scene and opened an investigation into the incident.

Gaza Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Iyad al-Buzm said in a statement that the explosion targeting the wall surrounding the center caused material damage.

An explosion had previously occurred at the same site on October 8.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack, saying that “the side responsible for such a criminal action does not belong to Palestinians, as culture is a major part of the Palestinian identity.”

The statement added that those responsible for the explosions are “ignorant and do not appreciate the role of culture in the Palestinian national fight.”

The ministry said the “attack on the French center was an attack on the Palestinian culture as well.”

It went on to describe the bombing as “an assault on the Palestinian culture and an affront to the strong friendship between France and the Palestinian leadership, government and people.”

The ministry, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, pledged to follow up investigations on the incident to identify those responsible for the attack and hold them accountable.

The blast came two days after the French Senate approved a resolution asking the government to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders in a symbolic, non-binding vote.

France’s resolution is part of a recent wave of similar votes across Europe.

The French Senate vote drew a swift and angry response from Israel, which claimed it “hinders the possibility to advance towards peace.”

On December 18, the Brussels-based European Parliament is expected to vote on a proposed resolution recognizing the state of Palestine.