Hamas says PA was responsible for attempted assassination on own PM

Hamas claims it has four people in custody who identified PA officials as the masterminds behind last month’s assassination attempt of the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister. According to Hamas, the attack was meant to “kill the reconciliation.”
Rami Hamdallah Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Gaza’s ruling group Hamas blamed the Palestinian Authority on Saturday for the March 13 roadside explosion that targeted Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy.

Immediately following the attack, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas, claiming it was responsible for the failed assassination attempt in which several of Hamdallah’s people were injured, while he remained unharmed.

However, Hamas is now pointing fingers at the Palestinian Authority. On Saturday, spokesman for the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza Eyad al-Bozom said that three senior officers in the Palestinian Authority were behind the blast.

According to the Hamas-run ministry, it is holding four men in custody, claiming they were part of a cell guided by PA officers based in the West Bank. The ministry added that the suspects were the ones who identified the three senior PA officials.

Aside from presenting videotaped confessions by the suspects, Hamas did not produce any further evidence. Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas in Gaza, said at a news conference that the suspects “wanted to kill” the reconciliation efforts made by the two main Palestinian blocs. Al-Bozom said the same PA officers also attempted to kill Hamas’s head of security Tawfeeq Abu Naeem in October in Gaza.

Hamdallah’s convoy came under attack last month during a visit to the Gaza Strip to open a public-works facility there. The attack, which involved gunfire and a bomb explosion, happened shortly after Hamdallah's convoy passed through the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza.

On March 22, three men suspected of being involved in the assassination attempt were killed in a shootout with Hamas forces in Gaza.

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