Blast targets Palestinian PM's convoy in Gaza

Israeli Orthodox Jews put on their Jewish tefillin leather straps and boxes containing sacred parchments ahead of prayer at the Byzantine-era Shalom Al Israel synagogue known to Palestinians as the

Blast targets Palestinian PM's convoy in Gaza

There was no claim of responsibility, but a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency said the Palestinian Authority held Hamas, which seized control of the tiny coastal enclave 11 years ago, accountable. Among other officials was traveling with Hamdallah the head of the General Intelligence Service of the Palestinian Authority, Majid Faraj.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the attack on the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza on Tuesday in a press release published the same day. "I will return to the Gaza Strip".

Hamdallah's visit comes amid a time fo crisis in Gaza.

Late previous year, both sides agreed to allow the P.A., which administers portions of the West Bank, to return political control over the Gaza Strip for the first time since they were ousted in 2007 by Hamas. The Fatah party of the prime minister called the explosion an assassination attempt and blamed Gaza militants.

"UNRWA continues to be the primary actor in Gaza and has some of the best data, relationships and experience, and if you're looking at development it makes sense to have UNRWA represented", she said in an interview. Hamas' interior ministry said there were no injuries.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas was quick to blame Hamas for the attack while Hamas itself condemned the explosion.

Mr Hamdallah was not harmed in the incident on Tuesday morning near Beit Hanoun, shortly after crossing into the Hamas-controlled area. "But we can not be deterred, and the Palestinian Authority should not be deterred". Calling it cowardly attack, tension further escalated between the rival factions.

Palestinian official Elias Zananiri described it as a "very grave" and "heinous" incident, and noted that there are many elements within Hamas that oppose reconciliation.

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An explosion has struck the convoy of upon his entrance into the Gaza Strip, injuring several people. The two parties, which fought an bitter internecine war in Gaza in 2007, signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo previous year.

The agreement to form a unity government was signed in the Egyptian capital Cairo on October 13, but efforts to implement the deal have faced obstacles.

"This attack is an attempt to kill all reconciliation efforts". Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed or stalled.

One of the key changes in that agreement was Hamas handing over control at Gaza's borders to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in November.

Hamas, for its part, has not shown a willingness to give up its weapons, including rockets and mortars, seen as one of the biggest obstacles towards reconciliation.

The prime minister's visit was planned almost five months ago to open a waste treatment plant which the Palestinian Authority helped finance.

White House adviser to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, was set to convene a meeting later Tuesday in Washington with global donors to address the worsening economic situation in Gaza.

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