Merkava Tank (Archive)
Merkava Tank (Archive)Israel news photo: Flash 90

An official with the Hamas terror organization said an Israeli tank shell hit and badly damaged a house in Gaza on Saturday.

No one was wounded in the "explosion" near the Shejaya area east of Gaza City, they said.

Eyewitness told the Maan News Agency that the shell hit Abu Hajjaj family home. The family was reportedly inside at the time.

An IDF spokesman had no immediate comment on the claim, saying only that a flare had been fired in the sector.

Military analysts note that a regular tank shell (other than a flare) would have almost certainly demolished the home and killed everyone inside.

Flares are commonly used to illuminate areas where suspected terror activity is transpiring, such as the firing or rockets and mortars at Israeli communities.

Friday night the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said they fired four mortar rounds into Israel from Shejaya.

The IDF, however, said a single rocket landed in an open field near Nahal Oz. No physical injuries were reported in the attack.

The rocket attack came after IDF forces crossed into Shejaya around 10:50 on Friday night and clashed with PFLP terrorists.

According to reports,  the terrorists had opened fire on an Israeli watchtower on the Israeli side of the Gaza security fence.