Palestinian Authority prime minister survives assassination attempt in Gaza


Shortly afterwards, he returned to Ramallah where he gave a brief address outside his office.

The news cast a cloud over a meeting to take place later Tuesday at the White House, where global representatives were to discuss economic development and the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. "Wishing a speedy recovery to the injured", Greenblatt said.

A statement on official Palestinian media said President Mahmoud Abbas considered it a "cowardly targeting" of Hamdallah's convoy and held his rivals Hamas responsible.

The reports claimed that the convoy had also been attacked with gunfire. Hamas condemned the attack and vowed to launch an "urgent" investigation.

The explosion occurred shortly after the convoy entered Gaza through the Erez crossing with Israel, a security source in the convoy said.

"Here in Gaza, we take all the security precautions to welcome all the convoys and delegations and particularly the prime minister as he entered Gaza", he said.

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"I will return to Gaza despite what happened today and I call on Hamas to allow the government to effectively control the Gaza Strip", Hamdallah.

Just a few hours after a bomb attack in Gaza on the Palestinian Authority prime minister, the White House was hosting a conference on aiding the economically strung-out region.

The largely secular Fatah and the Islamist movement Hamas have been at odds since 2006, when Hamas beat Fatah in elections and then seized control of Gaza by force.

President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy condemned the attack.

The worldwide Muslim body went on to call for an immediate investigation into the incident.

Hamas security sources said that the explosion was caused by a small explosive device that was detonated "far" from Hamdallah's convoy.

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Lacking confidence in the Hamas-dominated security forces, PA officials may think twice before going to Gaza, putting yet another obstacle in the way of progress in the reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah.

Mladenov says Tuesday's blast was carried out by people trying to undermine reconciliation and "destroy the chances for peace".

Extremists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest. "It is a unsafe step aimed at spreading disorder and fighting among our people", Munir al-Jaghoub, who heads Fatah's information department at the Office of Mobilisation and Organisation, said.

Echoing a message of defiance made popular by Yasser Arafat, Hamdallah declared: "Those who do not like the idea of me being here should go and drink from the Gaza seawater".

The PA and its Fatah faction responded to the explosion with unprecedented speed, holding Hamas fully responsible for the attempt on the life of the prime minister and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj.

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