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Hamas says unity deal still on track despite 'assassination attempt'

Hamas will adhere to a deadline to hand over border crossings to the PA. [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2017

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Hamas' head of security - who recently survived a car bomb attack in Gaza - has vowed to continue with an agreement to end the decade-long rift with rivals Fatah.

The head of Hamas security forces left hospital on Saturday after being wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Gaza Strip, and vowed that an agreement to end the decade-long rift with rivals Fatah would remain on track.

Tawfiq Abu Naim was moderately injured in an explosion on Friday which was branded by Hamas as a "failed assassination attempt".

Abu Naim - a former prisoner that Israel freed along with hundreds of other Palestinian inmates in exchange for an Israeli soldier in 2011 - heads the Gaza security services that report to Hamas.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh signalled Israel was to blame, for the attack but no one has claimed responsibility.

"We are determined to leave the split behind and realise the important national unity at all costs," Abu Naim said.

"The objectives of those who committed this despicable act will not be achieved," he added.

Hamas will adhere to a 1 November deadline to hand over border crossings to the Palestinian Authority, Abu Naim said, part of a series of measures agreed to under the recent reconciliation deal.

Under the deal, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is to resume control of Gaza - which Hamas seized in a near civil war with Fatah in 2007 - by 1 December.

A major sticking point in the deal is expected to be Hamas' refusal to disarm its 25,000-strong armed wing.

Abbas wants the handover to be comprehensive and include all security institutions, but the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has said "no one" can force his group to disarm.

Israel and the United States have meanwhile said that Hamas must disarm as part of any unity government and recognise Israel.

The Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation has recognised Israel, but Hamas has not.

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