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Assassination Attempt Widens Fatah-Hamas Rift

Assassination Attempt Widens Fatah-Hamas Rift

Sunday, 10 March, 2019 - 10:45
A military parade marking the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas movement, in the northern of Gaza Strip December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun
The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attempt at the life of Gaza-based Fatah central committee member, Ahmed Hillis. Fatah has accused Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, of standing behind the assassination try.

Hamas, however, denied involvement and pointed towards internal divisions within Fatah. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, which came amid continued tensions between the two main Palestinian parties.

A spokesman for the Hamas-run Ministry of the Interior said that two suspects were arrested on Saturday in connection with the failed assassination attempt. Hamas security forces also seized the car that was used by the assailants and were seeking to arrest other suspects, the group's spokesman, Eyad al-Bazm, said.

“We won’t allow anyone to tamper with our internal front,” the Hamas spokesman added. “We will take all necessary measures to maintain stability and security in the Gaza Strip.”

The spokesman did not provide details about the identities or political affiliation of the suspects.

Fatah, on the other hand, considered the assassination an attempt to represent Hamas’ true position towards reconciliation.

“The policy of physical and moral assassination is part and parcel of the practice and behavior that Hamas has employed since its inception,” a Fatah statement said.

Fatah spokesman in the Gaza Strip Atef Abu Saif said that what happened to Hillis was not unusual and that Fatah movement members in Gaza constantly face threats and are frequently arrested.

He added that "those who refuse to empower the government and continue to divide and reject national unity are responsible for such crimes.” Abu Saif accused Hamas of trying to derail elections in the Gaza Strip through an assassination attempt that is the quickest key to widen the Hamas-Fatah rift.

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