JERUSALEM, Israel – Following Tuesday's attack on the convoy carrying the Palestinian Authority prime minister, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas issued a series of discordant reports.
The bombing took place near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip shortly after the convoy entered through the Erez Crossing.
Almost immediately, PA officials blamed Hamas for what it called a cowardly assassination attempt against its prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, who had traveled to Gaza to take part in an inauguration ceremony of a wastewater treatment plant.
Hamdallah, seemingly undeterred by the attack, went on to the water treatment plant, telling reporters the PA will not be prevented from seeking reconciliation with Hamas and will "still come to Gaza."
Hamas, for its part, intimated that Fatah itself orchestrated the incident to underline its quest to resume security control of the Strip. The terror group's spokesmen and other senior officials said the so-called assassination attempt was "calculated and preplanned," Palestinian Affairs expert Khaled Abu Toameh reported.
In related news, Hamas called for a renewal of suicide bombings against Israel on the official website of its "military wing," the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated an article commemorating the suicide bombings in 1996.
"The Zionist occupation is criminal and criminals should be met with firm action, namely suicide attacks against anything that is Zionist," the author wrote.
Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody military coup in June 2007, sending PA security forces fleeing for their lives.
Over the following decade, the two rival factions have failed to reconcile, despite intensive mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan, among others.