Rami Hamdallah, Palestinian Prime Minister has reportedly survived an explosion, which detonated next to his convoy during his visit to Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The country’s media and officials said that several people were wounded in the explosion.
The PA said Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was accompanying him, were unhurt. However, media reports said several bystanders were injured. Their condition was not immediately clear.
PA civil affairs minister Hussein Al Sheikh said the Hamas group, which rules Gaza, would be held fully responsible for this “murderous” assassination attempt and warned that this was an unprecedented dangerous development that would have grave consequences for Hamas.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest there.
A Hamas security official said that a number of suspects had been arrested in connection with the explosion. The official did not provide details but said Hamas was investigating the circumstances and motives behind the explosion.
Hamdallah and his delegation had arrived in Gaza to participate in the inauguration of a wastewater treatment plant. They continued with the tour after the attack and Hamdallah appeared on television shortly after the explosion as he opened a plant.
Pictures from Gaza showed the rear window of Hamdallah’s SUV had been blown out.
It is Hamdallah’s second visit to the Gaza Strip since the signing of an Egyptian-brokered “reconciliation” agreement between the West Bank’s governing Fatah faction and Gaza’s Hamas rulers late last year.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since it ousted the Fatah-led PA in 2007.
The visit comes amid mounting tensions between the PA and the Hamas terror group over the floundering agreement.
The PA government has accused Hamas of refusing to allow it to assume its full responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the agreement.
Hamas, for its part, has accused the PA government of failing to lift the sanctions it imposed on the Gaza Strip last year.
The sanctions include, among other things, halting payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected the PA’s request that it relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip.