'Former Palestinian Security Official Arrested' in Assassination Attempt on Prime Minister

The arrest, reported by the Beirut-based newspaper Al-Akhbar, follows other arrests on Tuesday, when a roadside bomb exploded near Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy just inside Gaza

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
A damaged vehicle from Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah's convoy in Gaza.
A damaged vehicle from the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is removed after an explosion in the northern Gaza Strip, March 13, 2018.
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Security forces from the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, have reportedly arrested a former member of the Palestinian Authority's security forces as a suspect in the attempted assassination on Tuesday of Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

The latest arrest was reported by the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar but has not been confirmed by official sources. Hamas security forces searched the suspect's home for evidence as well as other locations that he had allegedly visited in Gaza, the Beirut daily added. The reported arrest follows others on the day of the incident.

The attempt on Hamdallah's life came in a roadside explosion near the Palestinian prime minister's convoy just after it entered Gaza through the Erez crossing on the Israeli border. Hamdallah was not injured and left Gaza shortly after incident, Arab media reported.

According to Al-Akhbar, the cell that planned the attack buried two explosive charges in the ground, planning to detonate them using a cell phone, but one of the two failed to detonate. It was also reported that an Egyptian security delegation met on Wednesday with top Hamas security officials in Gaza and urged them to wrap up the investigation of the incident as soon as possible.

Officials at the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza noted that a special security committee headed by Interior Minister Tawfiq Abu Naim was continuing to pursue intensive efforts to conclude the investigation.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip by force from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority in 2007. The latest in a series of attempts at reconciliation between the two sides has faltered. Hamdallah's visit to Gaza on Tuesday, his first in months, was planned so that he could attend the dedication of new sewage purification plant in the northern strip, which the Palestinian Authority was involved in building.

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