Abbas Cuts Short Visit to Jordan Amid Attack on Palestinian Official

  • Abbas Cuts Short Visit to Jordan Amid Attack on Palestinian Official

Abbas Cuts Short Visit to Jordan Amid Attack on Palestinian Official

Later Tuesday, however, Hamdallah spoke with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and agreed that Israel and its collaborators were responsible for the attack, Haaretz reported. Since then, Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip while the Fatah Party have governed the West Bank, which is occupied by Israel.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah waves to the crowd upon his arrival in Gaza City on March 13, 2018. The PA has confirmed that Hamdallah was not injured.

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

Hamas said the targeting of Hamdallah's motorcade was "part of attempts to damage the security of Gaza and deal a blow to efforts to finalize reconciliation".

No group immediately claimed responsibility, and there were no serious injuries, but the attack came amid a tense standoff between his Ramallah-based government, dominated by the Fatah political faction, and the Islamist militant group Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since routing Fatah in the coastal enclave in a civil war a decade ago.

Palestinian sources report that the explosion appears to have targeted the Palestinian PM's convoy as it entered Gaza from the Erez checkpoint.

Palestinian official Elias Zananiri described it as a "very grave" and "heinous" incident, and noted that there are many elements within Hamas that oppose reconciliation. "This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians". The hands behind this crime are the same hands that killed Mazen Fuqaha (ed: "commander of Hamas military wing killed past year in Gaza) and tried to kill General Tawfiq Abu Naim".

Hamas, which condemned the attack, and the Authority said they viewed the incident as an attempt to prevent implementation of a unity agreement signed in October that has raised hopes of improving economic conditions in the territory of 2 million people.

In the West Bank, Abbas blamed Hamas for the blast. Before entering politics, he was a linguistics professor and the president of An-Najah National University.

Hamas has ceded some government functions and control of Gaza's borders, but it has refused calls to disarm and let Palestinian Authority security forces take over.

According to Haaretz, the prime minister is seen as a contender for the presidency given current President Mahmoud Abbas's sickness.