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Hamas: Rami Hamdallah convoy attack suspects killed in Gaza

Operation aimed at arresting main suspect of March 13 bomb blast leaves two Hamas security personnel dead.

Hamas security forces

Two suspects in the bomb attack on the Palestinian prime minister's convoy in the Gaza Strip have been killed in a security operation, according to the Hamas-led government's interior ministry.

Two members of Hamas security forces were also killed during Thursday's operation aimed at arresting the main suspect in last week's attack on the motorcade of Rami Hamdallah, Gaza officials said.

They said the suspect, Anas Abu Khousa, and an accomplice, Abdul Hadi al-Ashab, sustained critical injuries during the operation and later died of their wounds.  

Khousa and Ashab reportedly resisted arrest and exchanged fire with the authorities. 

Several security guards of Hamdallah were wounded during the March 13 explosion, which occurred during his visit to Gaza to open a water-treatment facility.

The blast was aimed at the convoy as it passed through the Israeli-controlled Erez checkpoint, known to Palestinians as Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza.

Hamdallah is the prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Hamas of orchestrating the explosion. Hamas has denied any role in the attack.

The attack and the subsequent recriminations marked a serious deterioration in relations between Hamas and the PA.

Fatah, the ruling party within the PA, and Hamas, the party that governs Gaza, signed a reconciliation agreement in October 2017, ending a decade of division that saw two parallel governments operating in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively.

But the deal was never fully implemented due to differences within the two political factions, which are the largest in Palestinian politics. 

Analysts said the attack on Hamdallah's convoy was intended to put a strain on reconciliation efforts.  


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