Blast targets Palestine PM's convoy during rare Gaza visit

Islamic Jihad

The explosion that targeted Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy in Gaza on Tuesday was caught on tape by a local resident.

Hamdallah, seemingly undaunted by the attack, said he remained determined to heal the Fatah-Hamas rift in Gaza.

The estrangement has left Gaza under the control of Hamas while the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is in charge of some parts of the occupied West Bank.

Hamas said the attack was an attempt to damage Gaza's security and "deal a blow to efforts to finalise reconciliation" between the main Palestinian factions.

A statement from Hamas also condemned the attack but likewise condemned the response from Palestinian Authority.

"They detonated three cars as we entered the Gaza Strip", he said, during the opening of the plant in the northern Gaza Strip.

During the meeting with Hamdallah and Faraj, the PA president said that Tuesday's incident was in line with the "suspicious goals of destroying the Palestinian national project by separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank in order to create a suspicious Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip".

The movement demanded for an immediate and urgent investigation to uncover all the circumstances of the crime.

Minutes after the explosion, the 59-year-old prime minister, apparently unhurt, delivered a speech at the inauguration of an internationally-funded wastewater treatment plant and pledged to continue to pursue Palestinian unity.

Haaretz noted Hamdallah's rise in stature could be attributed to his close ties with "two of the strongmen in Fatah and in the coterie of the late PA Chairman Yasser Arafat".

The Palestinians were enraged by President Donald Trump's decision to break with longstanding USA policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and have refused to meet with his peace envoys since.

The explosion came a few hundred metres after Hamdallah's convoy crossed through the Palestinian Authority-run checkpoint into Hamas-controlled territory.

President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy condemned the attack.

However, against the backdrop of an economic crisis in Gaza, Hamas has handed back control of its border crossings to the PA.

Hamdallah's government is recognised by the worldwide community, while Hamas is blacklisted as a "terrorist organisation" by the European Union and the United States.

The Palestinian prime minister says a blast that struck his convoy in Gaza will not disrupt attempts to reconcile with Hamas.

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