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Palestinian Authority PM 'targeted in blast' after entering Gaza

The explosion went off shortly after the Palestinian PM arrived in Gaza [Twitter]

Date of publication: 13 March, 2018

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An explosion went off targeting the convoy of the Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah as he entered Gaza in a rare visit.

An explosion in northern Gaza went off targeting the convoy of the Palestinian prime minister on Tuesday, wounding seven people, a security source and witnesses said.

Witnesses told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that an explosion had occurred on the road where the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had passed just moments earlier.

According to the reports, a roadside bomb exploded less than a kilometre after the convoy left the Beit Hanoun Erez crossing to the north.

Hamdallah was not injured in the explosion which occurred shortly after his convoy entered for a rare visit to the Gaza Strip, however shrapnel did hit a car.

A security source in Gaza told AFP that the convoy was also fired on by unknown gunmen at the time of the explosion. Hamas security forces then sealed off the area.

Witnesses added that a group of individuals had been pursued by security forces, believed to have been responsible. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although three suspects have been arrested. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have frequently been behind unrest.

Hamas and several Palestinian factions have condemned the attack.

Hamdallah appeared on television shortly after the explosion as he opened a wastewater treatment plant in the territory, but cut short his visit and left.

He had been expected to hold a number of other engagements before leaving.

Official Palestinian media released a statement saying President Mahmoud Abbas considered it a "cowardly targeting" of Hamdallah's convoy holding the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, responsible.

Hamas have criticised Abbas' accusation saying it "achieved the goals of the criminals."

An Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October set December 10 for the transfer of power from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas claimed that all control of government ministries had been handed over to the PA, however, the situation in Gaza remains unchanged.

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