Palestinian Authority Blames Hamas for Failed Assassination Attempt against PM
The Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed on Tuesday Hamas for a failed assassination attempt in Gaza against Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
The official, on a rare visit to Gaza, survived a bombing that targeted his convoy.
Three of the vehicles in Hamdallah's convoy were damaged, their windows blown out. One had signs of blood on the door.
He survived unharmed and delivered a speech at the inauguration of a waste treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, live TV footage showed. He confirmed in the address that three cars were damaged.
He declared that the attack will "not deter us from seeking to end the bitter split. We will still come to Gaza."
The PA said it held the Gaza’s dominant Hamas group responsible for the attack, stopping short of directly accusing it of carrying out the assault, but suggesting it had failed to provide adequate security.
“The Palestinian Presidency holds Hamas responsible for the cowardly targeting of the Prime Minister’s convoy in Gaza,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Hamas has since condemned the attack.
Gaza’s Hamas-run interior ministry said the explosion hit as the prime minister’s convoy passed near the northern town of Beit Hanoun. No one was injured and security services had begun an investigation, ministry spokesman Eyad Al-Bozom said.
The prime minister is based in the occupied West Bank and traveled overland, via Israel, to the Gaza Strip. Police said the explosion came shortly after Hamdallah’s convoy passed by, and one witness said it appeared two cars at the end of motorcade sustained damage.
Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s PA are still divided over how to implement an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal, signed in late 2017.
“The attack against the government of consensus is an attack against the unity of the Palestinian people,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas.
The rival Palestinian factions have been trying to reconcile since 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah forces and have suffered several setbacks in their efforts since. The takeover left the Palestinians with two rival governments, Hamas in Gaza and the Western-backed PA governing autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In November, Hamas handed over control of Gaza's border crossings to the PA. It was the first tangible concession in years of Egyptian-brokered reconciliation talks. But negotiations have bogged down since then.
Hamdallah's visit comes amid a time of crisis in Gaza. On Tuesday, the White House is hosting a special meeting to discuss Gaza's devastated economy.