Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (right) welcomes Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to the Gaza Strip, October 9..
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah canceled a planned visit to the Gaza Strip following a series of explosions that targeted the homes and vehicles of senior Fatah officials Friday morning.
No one was hurt in the predawn blasts. An explosive device also went off at the site where Fatah was planning to hold a rally to commemorate Yasser Arafat, who died in November 2004.
Fatah accused Hamas of being behind the explosions to foil the rally plans. Hamas denied any link and vowed to investigate.
Azzam al-Ahmed, senior Fatah official in the West Bank dismissed the Hamas denial, saying Fatah has proof that “armed elements” belonging to Hamas were behind the attacks.
“Hamas’s condemnation of the attack does not exempt it from its responsibility,” al-Ahmed told reporters in Ramallah. “The attacks on the Fatah leaders was premeditated and thoroughly planned."
“We have evidence connecting some Hamas people to the explosions against 15 Fatah leaders.”
Among the Fatah leaders whose homes and vehicles were targeted are Abdullah al-Ifranji, Mohamed Nahhal, Fayez Abu Aitah, Abdel Rahman Hamad, Hisham Abdel Razek, Faisal Abu Shahla, Jamal Eid, Ziad Matar, Sharif Watfa, and Abdel Jawad Ziada.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he knows the identity of the perpetrators and their motive, but stopped short of accusing Hamas for being responsible for the explosions.
Several Hamas leaders strongly denied responsibility for the attacks.
Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, condemned the attacks, saying they were harmful to his movement, and he urged Fatah not to rush to make accusations against Hamas.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called on Hamdallah to visit the Gaza Strip and assume his responsibilities as prime minister. He, too, denied any link between Hamas and the explosions.
Fatah leadership in the Gaza Strip said that despite the attacks it would proceed with plans to hold the Arafat anniversary rally on November 11.