After months of negotiations between the Palestinian factions brokered by Egyptian administration, an assassination attempt can blow up the efforts of more than six months.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Consensus Government showed practically no enthusiasm to the news of killing the suspect that allegedly attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the Gaza Strip last week. Moreover, it accused Hamas of orchestrating the whole assassination attempt to wreck the reconciliation.
The Palestinian Consensus Government blamed Hamas for attempting to assassinate Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the Gaza Strip last week, objecting to what it called “distorted, illogical scenarios” by Hamas to cover up the truth, according to an official release on Thursday.
The government expressed its mistrust in the investigations conducted by Hamas’s Interior Ministry that led to the killing of a citizen, alleging to be involved in the assassination attempt of Hamdallah, saying that it has guessed the whole scenario before it has been executed.
“Hamas’s attempt to spread rumors and impute the cowardly assassination attempt to the state and its institutions is illogical and untrue,” spokesperson of the consensus government, Youssef al-Mahmoud, stated on Thursday.
“The consensus government is renewing its assertion that Hamas is fully responsible for the terrorist criminal assassination attempt, which proves the importance of the Palestinian leadership’s demand to hand the complete responsibility of Gaza Strip, especially the security file,” Mahmoud added.
Palestinian Ministry of Interior denied on Thursday claims that Hamas has shared with it information about the attempt to assassinate Hamdallah in Gaza on March 13, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Hamas-run security forces in Gaza announced Thursday the death of the main suspect in last week’s assassination attempt against PM Hamdallah after a gun battle in which two security officers were killed.
The suspect, Anas Abdel Malik Abu Khousa, and two of his assistants were wounded in the shootout with security forces that surrounded his hideout at al-Nuseirat Camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, the official said. The other wounded suspect, Abdel Hady al-Ashahb, died of wounds afterwards.
Hamdallah and Palestinian security chief Majid Faraj’s convoy was attacked by a roadside bomb in Gaza on March 13. They were uninjured; Hamdallah said he will return to the strip once again to attain inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
During a press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to hand the authority over Gaza to the Palestinian consensus government, especially the security authority, blaming the Islamist group for the repercussions of failing the Egyptian efforts to end the division between Palestinian factions.
Abbas blamed Hamas for the explosion. His remarks threatened the reconciliation efforts to end a decade-old rift between his Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas group that is dominant in Gaza.
Hamas declared a $5,000 reward for anyone providing information about the suspect’s whereabouts. It provided no immediate details on his alleged motive or his affiliation to any militant group.
Abbas, who is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has offered no evidence of the involvement of Hamas in the attempt against Hamdallah’s life. But he said he did not trust Hamas to investigate the incident and that there had been “zero” progress in the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Fatah in 2007.
Cairo has played a key role in the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas. In October 2017, a reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo between both parties. A high-profile delegation has been visiting Gaza frequently during the past period to meet with all parties in order to ease any tensions that prevent the reconciliation agreement from being fully-implemented.
On February 25, the delegation started one of its longest visits, which lasted until March 8. During the visit, the delegation met with several Palestinian leaders from all parties and factions.
The list of separate meetings included meetings with Palestinian Minister of Transportation Sameh Tubeila, Palestinian Minister of Culture Ihab Bseiso, head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, a number of tribal heads in Gaza, and several members of the Palestinian unity government, according to Palestinian media outlets.
The Egyptian security delegation returned again to Gaza on March 11 to continue their efforts and meetings. Shortly after the attack, they issued a statement in which they deeply condemned the incident, praising Hamdallah’s stance and statements that followed the attack.