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Hamas condemns attack on Palestinian PM’s convoy in Gaza

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City, on Jan. 23, 2018. The Islamic Hamas movement called on Tuesday for Palestinian national conference to discuss a new Palestinian strategy. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stressed in a televised speech the need for a new strategy that addresses the U.S. and Israeli declaration aimed at striking the Palestinian issue. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

GAZA, March 13 (Xinhua) — Islamic Hamas movement condemned on Tuesday the “crime” of targeting the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Hamas said the attack is meant to undermine efforts to achieve its reconciliation with the Fatah party, which rules the West Bank.

Earlier in the day, a bomb went off near the convoy of Hamdallah during a rare visit to the Israeli blockaded territory. The blast occurred shortly after the convoy entered Gaza, but no injuries were reported.

Hamdallah, accompanied by Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj, visited Gaza, controlled by Hamas, to overlook the opening of a desalination plant there.

Hamas deplored the accusations by the Palestinian presidency that Hamas is responsible for attack, adding that such charges will help the “criminals” behind the attack to achieve their goals.

Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh blamed the attack on Hamas, decrying it as an “attack on the unity of the Palestinian people,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Hamas said in the statement that the ones who targeted Hamdallah’s convoy are the same ones who assassinated Mazen Fuqaha, a top militant commander who Hamas held Israel responsible for his murder last year.

The movement demanded for an immediate and urgent investigation to uncover all the circumstances of the crime.

In last October, Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah party signed an Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation pact in Cairo to heal their decade-long rift. Hamas has been controlling Gaza since 2007 after ousting the forces loyal to Abbas.

Under the deal, Hamas should have fully handed over its power in Gaza to Hamdallah’s Ramallah-based consensus government in December.

However, the ongoing differences between the two sides forced a delay in the implementation of the deal until further notice.

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