Rami Hamdallah
Rami HamdallahReuters

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist group on Saturday claimed that Palestinian Authority (PA) officials were responsible for the attempted assassination of PA cabinet leader Rami Hamdallah in Gaza on March 13.

Hamdallah was unhurt by the roadside blast that struck his convoy as he visited Hamas-run Gaza.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas directly blamed Hamas for the bomb attack, saying that if the attack had succeeded it would have "opened the way for a bloody civil war."

Eyad al-Bozom, spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza, told a news conference on Saturday that three senior PA officers had masterminded the blast, according to the Reuters news agency.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations and the PA rejected Hamas’s accusation.

Three men identified by Hamas as suspects involved in the bombing were killed in a shootout with its forces in Gaza on March 22.

Hamas presented video confessions by four men it is holding in custody, who it said were part of that cell guided by the PA officers. It presented no further evidence, noted Reuters.

A spokesman for the PA’s security services, Adnan al-Dmairi, rejected the claims and blamed Hamas for the March 13 blast.

“The more Hamas tries to evade responsibility, the deeper it sinks,” he told Reuters.

The assassination attempt on Hamdallah deepened the ongoing rift between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah movement.

The two groups have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup.

The sides signed a reconciliation agreement in October, as part of which Hamas was to transfer power in Gaza by December 1. That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and then appeared to have been cancelled altogether after it reportedly hit “obstacles”.

Hamas recently denounced the Hamdallah cabinet over its policy of "deceiving, creating tension and deliberately neglecting the needs of the residents of the Gaza Strip."