Palestinian PM's convoy hit by blast


An explosion targeted Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy as he arrived in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday for a rare visit, causing no casualties, officials and witnesses said.

Hamdallah, who was not hurt, left the Hamas-run territory through the Erez crossing shortly after opening a wastewater treatment facility, the source said.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, condemned the attack and said in a Twitter post those behind it seek to "undermine" reconciliation. Hamdallah said the blast would not disrupt attempts to reconcile with Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority was also invited as well, but turned down the invitation: PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is still angry with President Donald Trump over his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and since then refuses to deal with the United States in any way. Officials say Rami Hamdallah, who is based in the West Bank, was not hurt by the bomb but several cars were damaged, reports VOA.

In his speech at the gathering, Greenblatt said, "We all know that none of this will be easy".

Some even went as far as hinting that the explosion may have been staged by the PA to implicate Hamas and force it to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip. A Hamas security official said multiple people had been arrested in connection with the explosion. Hamas has been in control of security and civil affairs in the Gaza strip for more than a decade.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. "Gazans have been brought to the brink of collapse by Hamas, PIJ & other extremist groups", he wrote.

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"We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today", Greenblatt said.

A damaged vehicle of the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is removed after an explosion in the northern Gaza Strip March 13, 2018. He also met with senior officials about stalled reconciliation talks between his group and Hamas.

"The other is Tawfik Tirawi, who, at the time of the establishment of the PA, was the chief of Palestinian intelligence in the West Bank, and who maintains his power in the Fatah movement as Abbas' security adviser".

Hamdallah said the incident would not prevent him from pursuing unity and reconciliation with Hamas.

The plant has been funded by the World Bank, backed by governments within Europe and the European Union, as a lack of safe drinking water is a serious issue in the Gaza Strip.

The future of that armed wing, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, has proved one of the largest sticking points in implementing the reconciliation agreement.