A Palestinian man suspected of bombing Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy last week has died following a gunfight with Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said Thursday.
The suspect, Annas Abu Khousa, was injured during the clashes and died shortly afterwards while in Hamas custody.
Two Hamas security force members also died, while two others were arrested during the operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
The apparent assassination attempt on Hamdallah last week threatened an already tenuous reconciliation attempt between the Fatah party, which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government, and Hamas.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he was not waiting for a Hamas investigation into the bomb attack “because we know that they, the Hamas movement, stand behind this act.”
In a fiery speech, Abbas vowed a response to the bombing, insinuating that he would cut off PA funds to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, which already faces severe shortages of electricity and medical supplies.
Hamas denied the accusation, calling Abbas’ rhetoric “dangerous and destructive.”
Hamdallah’s convoy was entering the coastal enclave last week to inaugurate a sewage treatment plant when a bomb exploded. Neither the premier, nor Palestinian Authority Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was accompanying him, were injured.
Multiple attempts to bridge the Palestinian divide have crumbled. The Gaza Strip has suffered from three Israel-Hamas wars and a stifling blockade maintained by Israel and Egypt which severely restricts the movement of people and goods.