TEL AVIV – The terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, blamed the Palestinian Authority on Saturday for the attempted assassination of the PA’s own prime minister Rami Hamdallah in the coastal enclave.
After a roadside bomb exploded near Hamdallah’s convoy last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of targeting the prime minister.
But Eyad al-Bozom, a spokesman for Hamas’ interior ministry, told a news conference that the attack was masterminded by three senior officers in the PA.
The explosive device was detonated seconds before the motorcade in which Hamdallah was travelling together with the PA’s intelligence chief, Majed Faraj, passed by. Neither man was hurt.
Hamas presented what it claimed were videotaped confessions by four men the terror group alleges are part of a PA cell in the Strip. Bozom also said the same PA officers were behind the assassination attempt on Hamas’s security chief Tawfik Abu Naim in October.
Hamas has also in the past claimed Faraj’s men were behind the attack as part of a plan to justify PA sanctions against the Gaza-ruling terror group following another ill-fated reconciliation deal.
Hamas said it killed three suspects in the assassination attempt in a shootout that took place a week after the bombing.
Hamas deputy chief Khalil al-Hayya on Saturday said the PA had orchestrated the attack in order “to kill reconciliation.”
His words echoed those of another of the group’s spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, who condemned “the crime of targeting Dr. Rami Hamdallah’s motorcade,” saying it is “part and parcel of attempts to undermine the Gaza Strip’s security and a blow to efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation.”
A PA spokesperson responded to the accusations, telling Reuters, “The more Hamas tries to evade responsibility, the deeper it sinks.”