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Jordan denounces attack on Palestinian PM

By Agencies - Mar 15,2018 - Last updated at Mar 15,2018

AMMAN — Prime Minister Hani Mulki on Wednesday called his Palestinian counterpart Rami Hamdallah and checked on his health after an attempt on the latter’s life a day earlier, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

On Tuesday, Hamdallah and Majid Faraj, chief of the Palestinian Intelligence survived an assassination attempt when an explosive went off near their convoy in Gaza Strip. 

Jordan condemned the attempt, describing it as "a scheme targeting the Palestinian national unity", according to Petra.  

State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani stressed that such practices would undermine the Palestinian cause and efforts of reconciliation, and would add to the "sufferings of the Palestinian people, who have been struggling to regain its rights, foremost, establishing an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital".

Momani, who is also the government’s spokesperson, reiterated support of the Kingdom’s leadership and people to the Palestinians and the Palestinian government of the national accord.

He underscored Jordan’s historical commitment to defending the Palestinian issue at all regional and international arenas.

Agence France-Presse reported that Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas widened an investigation Wednesday into a bomb explosion that targeted Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as he made a rare visit to the strip a day earlier.

The interior ministry in Gaza said it had launched a “high-level investigative committee” into the bomb attack, which was a further blow to faltering reconciliation talks between Hamas and president Mahmoud Abbas’ secular Fateh Party.

It said a number of suspects were being questioned after the roadside bomb targeted Hamdallah’s convoy shortly after he entered Gaza, leaving him uninjured, but lightly wounding six guards.

It did not provide further details on the investigation Wednesday or release the identity of the suspects.

“The door is open to anyone who wants to participate in the investigation,” Tawfeeq Abu Naim, the head of the Hamas security services in Gaza, said in a statement.

A minister in Hamdallah’s government told Voice of Palestine radio that Hamas informed them that there were two 15-kilogramme (33-pound) bombs, the second of which was planted 30 metres away, but failed to explode.

A senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Abbas decided no members of Hamdallah’s government would travel to Gaza in the short term “due to the security problems”.

A number of officials have been travelling to the enclave in recent months to discuss reconciliation.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas’ internationally recognised government more than a decade ago, but agreed in October to hand power back.

Yet, the deal has all but collapsed, with the two sides accusing each other of responsibility, and Tuesday’s explosion further exacerbated tensions.

After the attack, Abbas said that he held Hamas responsible as the de facto power in the strip, though stopping short of directly accusing the group of carrying out the bombing.

Hamas shot back, saying such rapid accusations were unhelpful before in turn pointing the finger of blame at Israel.

Other potential suspects include smaller, more radical groups that are opposed to Hamas, but operate in Gaza, or a Hamas splinter group.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Hamdallah said the attack would not end his government’s commitment to continue with reconciliation and again called on Hamas to hand over all power in Gaza.

“We are talking about internal security — the police and the civil defence,” he said. “Without security there won’t be a government.”

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