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Gaza security kill suspected attacker of Hamdallah convoy

March 22, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Anas Abu Khoussa, the suspected perpetrator of the recent bomb attack on the convoy of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, has been killed in a gun battle with security officials in the Gaza Strip.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza, Iyad Al-Bazm, said that the security services closed the Nusseirat area in central Gaza this morning, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the area, as an armed clash between the guards and the gunmen took place.

One of Abu Khoussa’s aides, Abdul Hadi Al-Ashhab, was also killed and another was arrested.

Local sources have confirmed that two security guards – Ziad Al-Hawajri and Hammad Abu Suwayrah from the Palestinian Security Services – were also killed in the gun battle.

Read: Who wants to kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?

“From the moment the prime minister was targeted, the Ministry of the Interior set up a high level security commission of inquiry to uncover the circumstances around the crime,” the government body said in a statement.

“In the framework of intensive and ongoing investigations, the security services on Wednesday identified the main person behind the implementation of the bombing, Anas Abdul Malik Abu Khoussa.”

Security forces located Abu Khoussa and his aides west of the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, and besieged them, demanding they surrender, “but they immediately fired at the security force,” the statement added.

The attack on Hamdallah’s convoy took place on Tuesday last week as the prime minister and his entourage, which included Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj, were visiting the inauguration of a wastewater-treatment plant in the Hamas-run Gaza strip.

Read: Hamas has no interest in targeting Hamdallah

Seven of the security guards were injured in the bomb blast but survived, Hamdallah escaped unscathed to continue with the inauguration. On his return to Ramallah, he insisted that the attack “does not represent patriotism. It is a cowardly act that does not represent our people, nor does it represent the people of Gaza.”

The Fatah party, of which Hamdallah and President Mahmoud Abbas belong to, called it a “terrorist attack” and blamed it on Hamas.

The convoy attack reopened a longstanding rift between the Fatah party, which rules the West Bank from its capital Ramallah, and its rival party Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. Following the assassination attempt, relations have declined up to the point that the Palestinian Authority this week demanded that Hamas hand over the Gaza Strip entirely.

Both parties signed a reconciliation agreement in October 2017, ending a decade of division and enmity between the two Palestinian factions.