Explosion Hits Convoy of Palestinian PM

Hamas accused of trying to assassinate Hamdallah
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2018 12:33 AM CDT
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during a press conference in Gaza City.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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(Newser) – An explosion struck the convoy of the Palestinian prime minister Tuesday as he was making a rare visit to Gaza, in what his Fatah party called an assassination attempt it blamed on Gaza militants. The explosion went off shortly after the convoy entered Gaza through the Erez crossing with Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was unharmed and went on to inaugurate a long-awaited sewage plant project in the northern part of the strip. But Fatah quickly held Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers responsible for the "cowardly attack" on the convoy, further escalating tensions between the bitter rival factions, the AP reports.

Three of the vehicles in Hamdallah's convoy were damaged, their windows blown out. One had signs of blood on the door. Hamdallah, who operates in the West Bank, arrived in Hamas-run Gaza to inaugurate the sewage plant and said there that the attack will "not deter from seeking to end the bitter split. We will still come to Gaza." The plant was envisioned in 2007 after overburdened sewage reservoirs collapsed, killing five villagers. The World Bank, European Union, and other European governments have paid nearly $75 million in funding. Hamas' takeover of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and the ensuing Israeli-Egyptian blockade and conflicts delayed the opening of the project for four years.

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