ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

Palestinian PM escapes Gaza explosion

13 March 2018, 12:51 | Erica Roy

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Hamdallah, accompanied by Palestinian Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj, visited Gaza, controlled by the Islamic Hamas movement, to overlook the opening of a desalination plant there.

He said that despite the attack he remained committed to Palestinian unity and would continue to come to Gaza.

Hamas confirmed an explosion struck the convoy but said no injuries were reported.

President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the "cowardly" attack on the convoy and said he held the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, responsible.

Hamas-run Interior Ministry's spokesperson Iyad Al-Bozom said the convoy went on to reach its destination safely after the explosion and an investigation had been launched into the incident. Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The incident took place amid heightened tensions between the main Palestinian factions over the implementation of a reconciliation deal signed a year ago.

Hamdallah was not hurt and a short time later attended the inauguration of a sewage plant.

But Hamas maintains full control of the rest of Gaza, with its police force and armed wing still operating throughout the territory.

The World Bank, European Union and other European governments have paid almost $75 million in funding.

The ties between Palestine and the United States have been witnessing rising tensions since last October, and peaked when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized on December 6, 2017 Jerusalem as a capital of Israel and ordered the moving of the U.S. embassy to the city.

Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza since 2007, which it says is necessary to isolate Hamas, while Egypt has also kept its border with the enclave largely closed.

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