Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Gaza Explosion Hits Convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister

Gaza Explosion Hits Convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister

'This grave incident must be promptly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, ' said Mladneov in the press release.

Hamdallah, who was not hurt, left Gaza and was headed back to the West Bank. "This is a very serious crisis, and it will take time to heal the wound". "They planted explosive devices two meters deep". "We hope that Egypt will not abandon its mediation efforts".

Hamdallah said the incident would not prevent him from pursuing unity and reconciliation with Hamas. In the past two months, the Egyptians have been working hard to prevent the downfall of the "reconciliation" agreement they helped secure late previous year. The Fatah party of the prime minister called the explosion an assassination attempt and blamed Gaza militants.

Hamas seized Gaza from the PA in a near civil war in 2007 and multiple attempts at reconciliation have since failed.

The Palestinian Prime Minister and Palestinian intelligence Chief Majid Faraj had been planning the visit for the past five months.

While Hamas did hand over control of Gaza's borders to the PA, it maintains full control of the rest of Gaza, with its police force and armed wing still operating throughout the territory. While Hamas officials strenuously denied involvement, there are elements within the group that do not want to cede power and oppose the reconciliation process. One had streaks of blood on the door.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the explosion hit the convoy as Hamdallah's vehicles drove some 600 feet into Gaza after entering through the Erez Crossing from the Israeli side.

Hamdallah described the bombing as an "assassination attempt".

Palestinian PM Hamdallah survives Gaza assassination attempt
A vehicle damaged in the explosion being

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

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. Hamas then retreated to Gaza and set up a parallel government there.

Despite making little progress, the PA has continued to send its ministers and top officials to Gaza. The second attack, an explosion targeting Hamas' head of security in Gaza, is widely believed to have been the work of extremists. Hamdallah said six bodyguards required medical attention. "This appeal proves that the goals of the explosion are bigger than its size", he added.

"President Abbas is cutting short his visit to Jordan and returning to Ramallah in order to keep an eye on developments following the attempted bombing of the prime minister's convoy", the source said.

Hamdallah also said: "We will not allow those with a foreign political agenda to dictate to us what happens in Gaza".

Some Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, appeared to be more restrained in their responses.

Fatah officials immediately pointed fingers at Hamas.

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