Explosion against Hamdallah's convoy
Explosion against Hamdallah's convoy Reuters

Hamas on Wednesday named a suspect in last week’s bomb attack on Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Rami Hamdallah, AFP reported.

Hamdallah was unhurt by the roadside blast that struck his convoy on March 13 as he visited Hamas-run Gaza.

The interior ministry in Gaza on Wednesday said it was searching for Anas abu Koussa, born in 1993, describing him as the lead suspect in the attack.

It did not provide a possible motive for the attack on Hamdallah. A Hamas security source said investigators had arrested and were questioning three people, including two members of the PA-run intelligence services.

Another security source said he believed radical Salafist Muslims had planted the bomb, which lightly injured six people.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday 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."

Abbas also said the incident would "not be allowed to pass" and announced he would take unspecified "national, legal and financial measures" against Hamas.

Hamas later blasted Abbas for blaming the group for the bomb attack, accusing him of trying to sow chaos in the region.

The attempt on Hamdallah’s life deepens the rift between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction, which have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup.

The two groups 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”.

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

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