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Explosion in Gaza targets convoy of Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah

March 13, 2018 3:53 P.M. (Updated: March 14, 2018 8:27 P.M.)
One of the vehicles damaged in the explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An explosion struck the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as he entered the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, lightly injuring several people.

The explosive device, which was reportedly planted two meters into the ground, detonated shortly after Hamdallah and his convoy passed through the Israeli-controlled Erez checkpoint .

Travelling with Hamdallah was also the head of the General Intelligence Service of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Majid Faraj.

Neither Hamdallah nor Faraj were injured in the explosion. Sources told Ma’an that seven security guards were injured, adding that three of the injured were travelling in a car in which Faraj was initially meant to travel.

Fatah, the ruling party of the PA to which PM Hamdallah and President Mahmoud Abbas belong, called it a "terrorist attack" and “assassination attempt,” which the group blamed on Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.

Member of Fatah’s central committee Hussein al-Sheikh said that “Hamas bears the entire responsibility for this criminal act, which is a very dangerous precedent.”

Faraj also released a statement holding Hamas responsible, saying “the suspect is the one controlling the lands and keeping it safe.”

Other Fatah officials condemned the attack as being aimed at hindering efforts at achieving national reconciliation, though Hamdallah himself said in a statement that the incident “would only increase our persistence to continue our jobs providing services to the Gaza Strip and ending division,” adding that he would be back in the Gaza Strip soon.

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement denied responsibility for the attack, saying “this crime is an inseparable part of attempts of harming the security of the Gaza Strip and destroying any efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation.”

Hamas also condemned the “ready-made accusations” by Fateh officials against the movement.

The group demanded security services in Gaza start an immediate investigation and detain anyone involved in the incident.

The spokesperson of the Gaza Ministry of Interior said that several suspects were arrested.

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