Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Blast targets Palestinian PM's convoy during rare Gaza visit

Blast targets Palestinian PM's convoy during rare Gaza visit

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - A bomb blast targeted Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy during a rare visit to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, leaving him unhurt, but provoking outrage over what officials called an assassination attempt.

The Palestinian prime minister says a blast that struck his convoy in Gaza will not disrupt attempts to reconcile with Hamas.

A convoy including Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was hit by an explosion this morning (March 13).

Gaza is home to roughly 1.8 million Palestinians with spotty access to electricity, potable water and food, and labors under both infighting between Islamist Hamas and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, as well as a partial Israeli economic blockade. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest there.

'The Presidency holds Hamas responsible for the cowardly targeting of the Prime minister's motorcade in Gaza, ' read a post to Twitter by the Official Fatah account on Tuesday.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas are still divided over how to share administrative power in the Gaza Strip under the Egyptian-brokered unity deal.

Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian political parties, signed a reconciliation agreement in October 2017, ending a decade of division that saw two parallel governments operating in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively.

This theory was reinforced by Hamdallah's appeal to Hamas - shortly after he returned to Ramallah - to hand over security control of the Gaza Strip to the PA government.

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Hamdallah, who is based in the West Bank, arrived in Hamas-run Gaza to inaugurate the internationally funded sewage plant.

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.

Sami Abu Zuhri, another Hamas spokesman, said that Hamdallah's statement raised "big doubts" as to the motive behind the explosion.

"We're now back to square one", remarked a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in the West Bank.

Three cars in the convoy also were damaged.

"How can a government overtake Gaza without maintaining security?"

The World Bank, European Union, and other European governments have paid almost $75 million in funding.

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