An announcement was released Wednesday morning by Islamic State's (ISIS) branch in Gaza, claiming responsibility for an explosion late Tuesday night on the French Cultural Center in western Gaza City.
The blast, which caused a fire that inflicted damage mostly to the center's restaurant but no casualties due to the late hour, was played down by the Hamas terrorist group running Gaza as likely being a generator malfunction - but according to the Arabic announcement, it was ISIS's first attack in Gaza.
The declaration opened saying "our fighters succeeded in exploding the center of immorality and heresy known as the French Center, after a surveillance of several weeks," reports Yedioth Aharonoth.
French language courses are the mainstay of the center, which also transfers visa applications for France to the French Consulate in Jerusalem. Construction on the center's fancy building was completed a mere two years ago
The statement detailed that a 200 kilogram explosive was planted adjacent to the building's gas tanks, which are used to provide power to the center's electric generator.
"This is the first act of the Islamic State organization in the Gaza Strip," bragged the statement in conclusion. Yedioth Aharonoth noted that despite the tone of exultation, the announcement included a glaring typo, dating the attack to October 10 instead of 7.
Some doubts have been raised as to the authenticity of the statement, questioning whether the attack may not have been carried out by one of the extreme Salafist groups in Gaza which view Hamas as "liberal."
ISIS has already been shown to be active in Gaza however, as members of the terrorist group released a video showing how they took part in the recent war against Israel from within Gaza. At least one former ISIS jihadist was killed in the Gaza fighting.