Hamas official: Main suspect in attack on PA prime minister dies after shootout

Two security officers killed in gunbattle during arrest. Suspect also wounded in clash.

March 22, 2018 12:08
2 minute read.
The site of an explosion that targeted the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah

Hamas police chief Tayseer al-Batish inspects the site of an explosion that targeted the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in the northern Gaza Strip. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

The primary suspect and one of his alleged accomplices in the bombing that hit Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s motorcade last week were killed in a shootout with Hamas security personnel in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, said Iyad al-Bozm, a spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry.

Anis Abu Hosa and his accomplice were killed and a second accomplice was wounded after they opened fire on the security personnel, Bozm said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

PA's Hamdallah safe after explosion near convoy in Gaza, March 13, 2018 (Reuters)Two members of the Hamas security forces, Ziad al-Hawajri and Ahmad Abu Sweireh, were also killed in the shootout.

The incident took place a day after the Hamas Interior Ministry called on Gazans to contact it with any information about Abu Hosa’s whereabouts, for which it said it would provide a $5,000 reward.

On March 13, a roadside bomb exploded adjacent to Hamdallah’s motorcade in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, wounding seven staff members, damaging several cars and undermining an already stagnant reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he does not want to know any details from the Hamas-run security forces’ investigation into the bombing, while accusing the Islamist group of carrying it out.

“We do not want an investigation or information from them. We do not want anything from them, because we are fully aware that Hamas is the one who stands behind that incident and carried it out,” Abbas said in a speech to a number of Palestinian leaders based in Ramallah.

Later on Thursday, Adnan al-Damiri, a spokesman for the PA security forces, reiterated Abbas’s accusation that Hamas carried out the bombing and said that the Islamist group was employing Abu Hosa and his alleged accomplices to evade taking responsibility for it.

“Hamas is continuing to lie, confuse and mislead by creating crises, crimes and events to aid itself in running away from taking full responsibility for planning and carrying out [the bombing],” Damiri said in a statement published on the official PA news site Wafa.

Yousif Mahmoud, a spokesman for the PA government, echoed Damiri, alleging that Hamas “once more, is going along the same path of... fabricating weak stories that make no sense.”

Hamas slammed Damiri’s and Mahmoud’s comments, asserting that they reflect “an insistence on holding onto falsehoods and deception of public opinion.”

Hamas also said that the PA officials statements would not “succeed in rescuing the parties responsible for” the bombing.

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