Key suspect in Palestinian PM attack killed

Two Hamas fighters were killed yesterday during an operation to capture those responsible for the attack on Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

A gunfight broke out in the Al-Nuseirat neighbourhood in Gaza as Hamas security forces identified Anas Abu Khoussa, a member of a Salafi-Jihadi group, as the main suspect responsible for the attempted assassination of the PA Prime Minister on 13 March.

According to Palestinian sources Abu Khoussa was arrested, but later died in hospital, whilst a second suspect was also killed in Thursday’s raid. A third suspect is reportedly under arrest.
Responding to reports of the operation, the PA accused Hamas of “drawing distorted scenarios” and “creating flimsy and illogical accounts” about the bombing of the Prime Minister’s convoy in order to divert attention from its own responsibility for the attack.

PA spokesperson Youssef al-Mahmoud said Hamas is “fully responsible for the terrorist criminal assassination attempt”. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who recently confirmed that a cardiologist had been added to his staff in order to closely monitor his health, said yesterday that the “Gaza Strip has been hijacked by Hamas,” who “must immediately hand over everything, first and foremost security, to the Palestinian national consensus government”.

The London-based Al Hayat newspaper reported that the US has decided to delay indefinitely the announcement of President Donald Trump’s peace plan. According to the report, the US now assesses that it cannot impose a deal on the Palestinians and no Arab country is willing to cooperate if the Palestinians oppose the plan.

A Western diplomatic source was quoted in the report, saying: “The US administration is searching for a plan that would be sustainable and acceptable to the parties, and this requires additional waiting and consideration. It’s not possible to forcibly impose the plan on the Palestinians. The Israelis and Palestinians first need to accept the plan. Afterwards, other Arab parties will be included,” he added.

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