Blast targeting Hamdallah blows Palestinian rift wide open

Palestinians reject US invitation to discuss Gaza humanitarian crisis

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. "This is a very serious crisis, and it will take time to heal the wound".

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, second right, escorted by his bodyguards, is greeted by Hamas police forces, left, upon his arrival in Gaza City on March 13, 2018.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had just arrived from his West Bank headquarters to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new water-treatment plant when the bomb went off.

'Meanwhile, Hamas condemns the ready accusations by the Palestinian presidency against Hamas, which calls for the security services and the ministry of interior to open an urgent and immediate investigation into the incident in order to know who is responsible for it and to bring the perpetrators to the court'.

However, suspicion of Hamas involvement was running high.

A statement from Hamas condemned the attack, saying it was done by the "same hands" responsible for the assassination of one senior Hamas figure, Mazen Faqha, and the attempted assassination of another previous year.

Majed Faraj, the Palestinian Authority intelligence chief, was part of the convoy.

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Nabil Shaath, the foreign affairs adviser of Abbas, told Sputnik in February that the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process had been put on hold as the Hamas movement had not yet relinquished administrative control over the Gaza Strip.

"We all know that none of this will be easy", he added, "everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk - and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza's suffering".

Rami Hamdallah's convoy was targeted by a roadside device shortly after his motorcade crossed into Gaza from Israel.

The reports claimed that the convoy had also been attacked with gunfire.

Erez Crossing is a border crossing on the Israel-Gaza barrier at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority may impose more punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, and it is imperative that Hamas captures those behind the attack as soon as possible.

He said three vehicles had been damaged in the explosion, which blew out the windows of one of them.

"It was a very well-planned attempt".

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