So far no one has claimed responsibility for the apparent assassination attempt on Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Hamdallah escaped unharmed after an explosion targeted his convoy in Gaza but several guards were injured. The Palestinian Authority (PA) deem the attack an assassination attempt and blame extremists from Hamas. Hamas, in response, claims that the attack was meant to damage security in Gaza as well as to "deal a blow to efforts to finalize reconciliation" between the two groups most responsible for Palestine's future at present.
Ever since the split between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction in 2007 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been under separate rule. The occupied territories are currently ruled by Hamas since winning parliamentary elections last year. Despite a reconciliation deal signed in October, the PA and Hamas the rivalry and disagreements have resulted in delaying implementation of the accord.
According to Majed Faraj, a Palestinian security official, Hamdallah seems to have been targeted by a roadside bomb. The explosion damaged three cars in their convoy, leaving a crater in the tarmac and several injured security guards. Hamdallah expressed his continued resolve afterward while speaking at the opening of a wastewater treatment plant in Gaza, "The explosion will not stop us from completing the national reconciliation and will not stop us from coming to Gaza."
President Abbas remarked that the attack was "a desperate attempt that serves the interest of those who want at this critical period to liquidate the Palestinian cause and to deny the Palestinian people their right to achieve freedom and independence." Security official, Faraj, says it is too early to point fingers and assign blame, but that "those who are in charge shoulder the full responsibility for security on the ground."
Hamas is not only not accepting blame, but have come out on the record calling the event an "ugly crime" and claim to have been investigating the matter. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, believes the attack may have been carried out by the same people who assassinated Hamas commander Mazen Fuqaha and attempted to assassinate Maj. Gen. Tawfiq Abu Naim, the head of Gaza's internal security forces. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, has formally condemned the attack and called for a prompt investigation culminating in the perpetrators being brought to justice.
Mladenov called Hamas to task, "Until the legitimate Palestinian Authority is fully empowered in Gaza, Hamas has the responsibility to ensure that the government is able to carry out its work in the strip without fear of intimidation, harassment and violence."
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