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Abbas blames Hamas for attack on PA Prime Minister

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Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday blamed Hamas for the bomb attack on PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj in the northern Gaza Strip last week.

“We are fully aware that Hamas is the one who stands behind that incident and carried it out,” Abbas said. “If the assassination operation, God forbid, succeeded, that would have led to catastrophic consequences for the Palestinian people and opened the door to a bloody civil war.”

Last Tuesday morning, a bomb exploded close to Hamdallah and Faraj’s motorcade in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza and injured seven members of their staff. Some Hamas officials had suggested that Israel orchestrated the attack, while others inferred that the PA carried it out.

Hamas condemned Abbas’s “irresponsible statements” on its Twitter account, asserting that they constitute “a violation of [the] reconciliation agreement”.

According to Hamas Interior Ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Bozm, security forces in Gaza have been investigating the bombing and arrested a number of individuals suspected of carrying it out. Abbas said that the Ramallah-based PA leadership does not want any details from the Hamas-run security forces’ investigation into the bombing.

The PA President said that he has taken “national, legal and financial measures” in response to what he called the rejection of “Hamas and its illegitimate authorities,” but did not detail what those steps were.

Hamas and Fatah agreed a reconciliation deal in October allowing the PA to assume full military and civilian authority over the Gaza Strip and incorporate Hamas officials into the PA. However, the relationship between the organisations since the signing has been tense, putting the agreement in jeopardy.