Explosion reported near Palestinian PM's convoy during Gaza visit

Nellie Chapman
March 13, 2018

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the head of his Preventive Security Majid Faraj survived an assassination attempt upon their arrival in the Gaza Strip Tuesday morning, as their convoy was attacked by three vehicle bombs after entering the Beit Hanoun crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, Ma'an reported.

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.

Hamdallah was not injured in the explosion, which occurred shortly after his convoy entered the territory run by Islamist movement Hamas, 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.

President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the "cowardly" attack on the convoy and said he held the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, responsible.

This is a developing story.

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Hamas called the attack an "ugly crime" and said it had launched an investigation.

Member of Palestine Liberation Organization Ahmad Majdlani said that the Gaza Strip issue is political in the first stance and not a humanitarian or relief, and Washington knows well that the reasons behind the coastal enclave are tied to the Israeli blockade.

The attack could adversely affect the ongoing process of reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah, which was brokered by Egypt. Hamas has been controlling Gaza Strip since 2007 after ousting forces loyal to Abbas.

Hamdallah was not hurt and a short time later attended the inauguration of a sewage plant.

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

The World Bank, European Union and other European governments have paid almost US$75 million (NZ$102 million) in funding. "We will still come to Gaza".

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