Palestinian President Blames Hamas for Attack on PM’s Convoy

Palestinian President Blames Hamas for Attack on PM’s Convoy

Monday, 19 March, 2018 - 20:30
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held on Monday the Hamas group responsible for last week’s bomb attack against the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza.

The rancor between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction has escalated since Hamdallah and Palestinian security chief Majid Faraj’s convoy was attacked by a roadside bomb on March 13.

They were uninjured, but six of the PM’s security guards were lightly hurt.

“We congratulate the two big brothers (Hamdallah and Faraj) that they are safe after the sinful and despicable attack that was carried out against them by the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas said. He offered no evidence of Hamas’s involvement but said he did not trust Hamas to investigate the incident honestly.

“We do not want investigation from them, we do not want information from them and we do not want anything from them because we know exactly that they, the Hamas movement, are the ones who committed this incident,” he said.

Abbas said if the attack had succeeded it would have "opened the way for a bloody civil war."

He said the incident would "not be allowed to pass" and announced he would take unspecified "national, legal and financial measures."

The Palestinian leader said there had been “zero” progress in reconciliation, citing recent efforts to bring a power-sharing deal to bear on the crossings out of the Gaza Strip and on security within the enclave.

In a speech to a Palestinian leadership summit in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas warned Hamas that it would have to give up control of Gaza or risk taking full responsibility for the enclave and its two million residents without any help from his western-backed Palestinian Authority.

“In my capacity as the president of the Palestinian people I have tolerated much in order to regain unity and unite the homeland and I was met with rejection by Hamas and their illegitimate authority,” he said.

Hamas did not immediately respond to the comments.

Fatah and Hamas have tried for years to come to an accommodation over running the Gaza Strip, but have repeatedly failed to implement deals mainly brokered by Egypt.

Hamas and Fatah agreed a reconciliation agreement in October, but it has collapsed.

Abbas has previously taken a series of measures, including reducing electricity payments for Gaza's two million residents, in what analysts said was an attempt to punish Hamas.

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