Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at a meeting in Ramallah on March 19, 2018.
(photo credit: PPO)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of carrying out the roadside bombing that struck PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Services Majid Faraj’s motorcade in the northern Gaza Strip last week.
“We are fully aware that Hamas is the one who stands behind that incident and carried it out,” Abbas said.
On Tuesday morning, a roadside bomb exploded adjacent to Hamdallah and Faraj’s motorcade in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, injuring seven members of their staffs and damaging several cars.
On the same day, Abbas’s office said Hamas bears responsibility for the bombing, but stopped short of formally accusing Hamas of carrying it out.
Meanwhile, some Hamas officials suggested on Tuesday that Israel carried out the bombing, while other Hamas leaders insinuated the PA did.
Responding to Abbas’s accusation against it, Hamas said on its official Twitter account that it condemns the PA president’s “irresponsible statements,” asserting that they constitute “a violation of reconciliation agreements.”
Abbas also said that if Hamdallah and Faraj had died in the bombing, a bloody inter-Palestinian conflict would have broken out.
“If the assassination operation, God forbid, succeeded, that would have led to catastrophic consequences for the Palestinian people and opened the door to a bloody civil war,” Abbas said, adding: “Our response could have been different but we are responsible, national and people who know what we can do... We could have executed 20 people in a public square, but we are responsible.”
Abbas also said that the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership does not want any details from the Hamas-run security forces’ investigation into the bombing.
“We don’t want any information from them,” Abbas said.“We don’t want anything from them.”
The Hamas-run security forces in Gaza have been investigating the bombing and arrested a number of individuals suspected of carrying it out, according to Hamas-run Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozm.
At the conclusion of his speech, Abbas said that he has taken “national, legal and financial measures” in response to what he called the rejection of “Hamas and its illegitimate authorities.”
However, the PA president did not explicitly state which measures he decided to take, but he appeared to suggest that they will affect Gazans when implemented.
Last year, Abbas ordered cuts to budgets allocated to Gaza for electricity, medical services, government employees’ salaries and other purposes to pressure Hamas to cede control of the coastal enclave. Many of these cuts remain in place.