TEL AVIV — The working assumption within the Palestinian Authority is that Palestinian intelligence commander Majed Faraj and not PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (pictured) was the main target of an assassination attempt in the Gaza Strip, a PA official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
On Tuesday morning, a large explosion occurred near a motorcade carrying Hamdallah and Faraj. The intelligence chief accompanied Hamdallah on his trip to push forward with reconciliation talks between the PA and Hamas.
Hamdallah and Faraj were both unharmed in the assassination attempt.
Upon returning to the West Bank, Hamdallah said that the attack was premeditated. According to the prime minister, reports that the powerful explosive had been buried two meters underground is an indication that the incident that wounded six security guards had been carefully planned ahead of time.
Hamas hurriedly condemned the attack while also criticizing what it called the automatic accusations against Hamas by PA officials. The terrorist organization said in a statement that a team has been assigned to investigate the incident.
A PA official told Breitbart Jerusalem that, as the strongest figure in the Palestinian security apparatus, the PA believes Faraj was the target. According to the PA official, Faraj has been warning Abbas against reconciliation, claiming that the deal is Hamas’ path to controlling the PLO and its institutions as well as the West Bank.
Under pressure from Faraj, Hamdallah refused to meet a Hamas delegation during his visit to the Gaza Strip in the wake of the blast, the official said. A planned visit was also cancelled between Hamdallah, Faraj and an Egyptian intelligence delegation in the Gaza Strip to help reconciliation talks.
According to the Palestinian official, Hamas’ rejection of the PA’s demand to establish a special joint Fatah-Hamas investigative team from Gaza and the West Bank proves that Hamas is trying to hide something. Hamas has claimed that Salafists were most likely behind the assassination attempt.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian president’s office condemned the attack on Hamdallah’s convoy.
A special statement carried by the official Palestinian news service Wafa read, “The Palestinian presidency holds Hamas fully responsible for the treacherous attempt to attack the convoy of the prime minister and the intelligence commander.”
The statement continued, “President Mahmoud Abbas will hold a number of meetings in the next few days to make decisions regarding the grievous developments of this morning (the assassination attempt) and the damage of this development on the efforts to achieve national unity.”