Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survives assissination attempt in Gaza

  • Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survives assissination attempt in Gaza

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survives assissination attempt in Gaza

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah escaped an explosion Tuesday morning, as he was entering the Gaza strip along with his envoy.

The explosion occurred as the Palestinian prime minister made a rare visit to the Gaza Strip.

Photos appear to show three damaged vehicles with windows smashed.

Hamdallah, whose portrait is featured along with Abbas's and those of Hamas leaders on Gaza posters promoting Palestinian unity, is based in the occupied West Bank.

A second device failed to explode, the official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast and Hamas condemned the attack.

The official said that Rami Hamadallah crossed Erez Crossing towards the Western Bank shortly after a quick visit to the water plant, without meeting any of Hamas' officials.

Just two weeks after he was sworn in as the prime minister in 2013, Hamdallah gave his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, citing lack of authority, only to be asked by Abbas during political turmoil later to form a new Palestinian government, which he accepted. One vehicle door also appears to have blood on it.

"The bombing attack is suspicious and aims to sabotage reconciliation talks", Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt - who are key supporters of Israeli rightwing policies against Palestinians - will speak at the summit. "It is a cowardly act that does not represent our people, nor does it represent the people of Gaza", Hamdallah said.

Gaza, which is separated from the West Bank by Israeli territory, has been controlled Hamas since the militant group ousted the PA in 2007. It said it's launched an investigation into the incident.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter that "Palestinians in Gaza need a real government that will provide basic services - not today's attack on PA officials trying to inaugurate a water treatment plant desperately needed in Gaza".

While Hamas did hand over control of Gaza's borders to the PA, it maintains full control of the rest of Gaza, with its police force and armed wing still operating throughout the territory.

He commended Hamdallah's "leadership and continuing efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and achieve reconciliation".

In January, Trump announced the USA government would be cutting more than half of its planned funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, a move that could prove catastrophic for millions of people in need.