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Palestinian PM unhurt after Gaza explosion which ‘targets' his convoy

Palestinian PM unhurt after Gaza explosion which ‘targets' his convoy
By Alasdair SandfordReuters
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The Palestinian Authority says Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has survived an assassination attempt in Gaza after an explosion near his convoy.


An explosion has been reported in Gaza close to a convoy carrying the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

A border official said the blast happened along the road shortly after the convoy passed by, but live television showed he was unhurt and he was seen attending a scheduled event – the inauguration of a waste treatment plant - shortly afterwards.

In his speech he said that three cars were damaged. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.

The Palestinian president survived an assassination attempt, the Palestinian Authority said after the explosion. It said it held the enclave's dominant Hamas group responsible for the blast.

However, the Palestinian Authority stopped short of directly accusing the group of carrying out the assault, suggesting it had failed to provide adequate security.

The Palestinian presidency did point the finger directly at Hamas, however. "The Palestinian Presidency holds Hamas responsible for the cowardly targeting of the prime minister's convoy in Gaza," the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Gaza's Hamas-run interior ministry said the explosion hit as the prime minister's vonvoy passed near the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Ministry spokesman Eyad Al-Bozom said no-one was injured and security services had begun an investigation.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He travelled overland, via Israel, to the Gaza Strip. Police said the explosion came shortly after his convoy passed by; one witness said it appeared two cars at the end of the motorcade were damaged.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas are still divided over how to implement an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

"The attack against the government of consensus is an attack against the unity of the Palestinian people," said Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah.

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