Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who is visiting the Gaza Strip, survived an explosive attack on Tuesday that left seven people injured and dealt a new blow to the reconciliation between Palestinian formations.
Hamdallah, along with influential intelligence chief Majid Faraj, emerged unscathed from the blast just after the convoy entered the enclave wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean and led by the Islamist Hamas movement, said a source of security.
The procession of limousines had recently passed the border post when a machine apparently laid along the road exploded, raising a high cloud of dust and causing confusion, according to video footage.
The convoy was shot at at the same time, another Palestinian security source said.
Come to take part in the inauguration of a sewage treatment plant, Mr. Hamdallah shortened this rare visit in the territory.
“It was a very well planned attack, with a bomb buried two meters underground according to what we were told,” Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah said after returning to the West Bank, “God willing that we are safe and sound.
In the absence of a claim, establishing the paternity of the act may be complicated by the opacity of the reclusive territory, familiar with obscure acts, in the face of persistent Palestinian dissension, continuing conflict with Israel, and radical Islamist attacks.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced a “cowardly attack” and said he holds Hamas responsible.
“It is too early to accuse anyone,” the intelligence chief said later, adding that according to the official Wafa news agency, Hamas, as the dominant force in Gaza, had “full responsibility for what is happening on field”.
The target, said MM. Hamdallah and Faraj, as well as the presidency of the Authority, is the reconciliation firm relaunched in 2017 with Hamas and today dying.
Hamas condemned the attack, and said it had arrested three people, without further details.
“Whoever did this is only serving the interests of the occupation (Israel) and doing what it claims,” said Tawfiq Abu Naim, leader of the Hamas security forces.
Tawfiq Abu Naim himself was seriously wounded in a bomb attack in October. Hamas usually blames Israel in such circumstances, but the attack on Tawfiq Abu Naim is commonly attributed to radical Islamists who routinely challenge Hamas on its territory.
There is nothing to exclude their involvement in Tuesday’s operation.
Hamas, which is beyond the reach of much of the international community, has been the undisputed leader of the Gaza Strip since it effectively ousted the Palestinian Authority in 2007. The Authority is internationally recognized and is expected to foreshadow an independent Palestinian state. , governs only fragments of the occupied West Bank, separated from Gaza by Israeli territory.
‘The immediate attention’ of Washington
After years of devastating dissent, Hamas agreed on October 12 in Cairo to surrender powers to the Authority. Despite the importance of the issues, Hamas and the Authority were again unable to overcome their divisions, and the Cairo agreement remained largely unfulfilled.
This agreement had given rise to cautious hope that the harsh realities of Gaza would improve and a dark political horizon for the Palestinian cause would be brightened.
Its slow death only aggravates the situation, and warnings are multiplied by the deterioration of the living conditions in the territory, affected by wars, the Israeli and Egyptian blockades, poverty, unemployment and shortages. water and electricity.
The events of Tuesday “do not discourage us to continue our work, (they) do not discourage the effort of reconciliation,” assured the Prime Minister of the Authority.
The UN special envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, reaffirmed the support of the international community for a return of the Authority at the controls.
“Those who inspired and perpetrated today’s attack seek to undermine reconciliation efforts and destroy the chances of peace,” he said in a statement.
The White House is scheduled to hold a conference Tuesday on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which it says is “worthy of immediate attention”. But the Palestinian leadership, outraged by the pro-Israel bias of the Trump administration according to it, should snub the conference.