Palestinian PM escapes Gaza explosion

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah waves upon his arrival, in the northern Gaza Strip October 2, 2017. An explosion went off as his convoy entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Photo: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem/File Photo

GAZA CITY - An explosion went off as Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, wounding seven people, a security source and witnesses said.

Hamdallah was not injured in the explosion, which occurred shortly after his convoy entered for a rare visit to the territory run by Islamist movement Hamas, a security source in the convoy said.

READ: Israel strikes Hamas bases in Gaza after rocket: officials

A statement on official Palestinian media said president Mahmud Abbas considered it a "cowardly targeting" of Hamdallah's convoy and held Hamas responsible.

 

 

 

Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj was part of the convoy but was not hurt either, the security source said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Radical Islamists opposed to Hamas also operate within the Gaza Strip and have regularly been behind unrest there.

The Hamas interior ministry confirmed there had been an explosion and said security forces were investigating the incident.

READ: Israel hits Gaza Hamas compound after rocket fire: army

It said it would not derail Hamdallah's visit, which comes as reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party falters.

The two major Palestinian factions signed a reconciliation agreement in October that was supposed to see the Islamists hand over power, but it has all but collapsed.

Hamdallah appeared on television shortly after the explosion as he opened a plant in the territory.

 

AFP

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