March 21, 2018

PA blames Hamas after explosion targets Palestinian PM entering Gaza

13 March 2018, 12:54 | Opal Carroll

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Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been ruled separately since a rift between Hamas and Mr Abbas's Fatah faction erupted in violence in 2007.

According to witnesses, a passenger on a motorbike threw an explosive device at the last auto in the prime minister's convoy shortly after it entered Gaza through the Erez Crossing with Israel on Monday morning.

Hamdallah was not injured in the explosion, which occurred shortly after his convoy entered for a rare visit to the territory, a security source in the convoy said.

Neither Hamdallah nor Faraj were among those injured in the incident, and the Prime Minister continued his schedule as planned.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson, held Hamas responsible for the attack.

This is a developing story.

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The Authority said it held the enclave's dominant Hamas group responsible for the attack, stopping short of directly accusing the group of carrying out the assault, but suggesting it had failed to provide adequate security.

It is Hamdallah's second visit to the Gaza Strip since the signing of an Egyptian-brokered "reconciliation" agreement between the West Bank's governing Fatah faction and Gaza's Hamas rulers late past year.

One of the key changes in that agreement was Hamas handing over control at Gaza's borders to the Palestinian Authority in November. "We will still come to Gaza".

The plant in question was envisioned in 2007 after overburdened sewage reservoirs collapsed, killing five villagers. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest.

Hamdallah's government is recognised by the global community, while Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.

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