PA blames Hamas after explosion targets Palestinian PM entering Gaza

Howard TerryMar 14, 2018

The convoy of the Palestinian Authority's prime minister was attacked Tuesday while he was in Gaza.

He said three vehicles were damaged in the explosion, which left a crater by the side of the road and blew out the windows of at least one utility vehicle. PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj was also in the convoy and not injured.

Hamdallah, who was received by a large crowd of officials and from the public, described the attack at "a cowardly act that doesn't represent the Palestinian unity and neither the Palestinian people".

Soon after the explosion, senior Palestinian Authority officials contacted Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli coordinator of government activities in the territories, to coordinate envoy's departure from the Gaza strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast and Hamas condemned the attack.

Abbas and other PA leaders had accused Hamas of refusing to "empower" the PA government in the Gaza Strip.

The explosive device was detonated shortly after Hamdallah and his convoy passed through the Beit Hanoun checkpoint in northern Gaza, reported Al Jazeera. One auto door also appears to have blood on it.

Erez Crossing is a border crossing on the Israel-Gaza barrier at the northern end of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority was not represented, keeping to its boycott of meetings with American officials following President Donald Trump's December 9 recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel's capital.

The "grave incident must be promptly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice", Mladenov said.

"Attack on PA delegation opening water treatment plant is an attack on the welfare of the people of Gaza".

Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organization in a number of countries, including in the United States and Israel, gained control of the Gaza Strip after a short war with Fatah in 2007.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum also denied any link to the attack, saying it was aimed at undermining efforts to achieve Palestinian unity.

The Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza said several suspects have been arrested in connection with the explosion.

"Despite what happened we will continue to build our institutions and we will press on with the reconciliation efforts with the help of Egypt", Hamdallah said.

In January, Trump announced the USA government would be cutting more than half of its planned funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, a move that could prove catastrophic for millions of people in need.

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