An explosion has struck the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah upon his entrance into the Gaza Strip, lightly injuring several people.
The explosive device detonated shortly after Hamdallah and his convoy passed through the Israeli-controlled Erez checkpoint, known Palestinians as Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza on Tuesday, an Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza reported.
Hamdallah was unharmed and appeared on live television shortly after the incident at the inauguration of a wastewater treatment facility.
However, five others were lightly injured in the blast.
The Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj was part of the convoy.
Fatah, the West Bank-based political party to which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas belongs, called it a “terrorist attack” and blamed it on Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.
“This attack is an attempt to kill all reconciliation efforts. It is a dangerous step aimed at spreading disorder and fighting among our people,” said Munir al-Jaghoub, heads Fatah’s information department at the Office of Mobilisation and Organisation.
“We demand that Hamas expedites its investigation. The developments have proven that Hamas has completely failed in providing security in Gaza, just as it has failed in providing a decent life for our people in the strip,” added Jaghoub.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Iyad al-Buzom, Gaza’s interior ministry spokesperson, said the act of placing blame “has a political dimension”.
“Here in Gaza, we take all the security precautions to welcome all the convoys and delegations and particularly the prime minister as he entered Gaza,” he said.
He added that “several suspects were arrested a short while ago,” and that an investigation “to find out who was behind the explosion” is under way.
Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian political parties, 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.
The agreement to form a unity government was signed in the Egyptian capital in Cairo on October 13, but efforts to implement the agreement have faced several obstacles.
Mustafa Ibrahim, a Gaza-based political analyst, believes there are “several sides who are benefitting from this explosion”.
“We will hear Fatah saying that some members of Hamas do not want reconciliation, and likewise, we will hear Hamas saying this could have been a fabricated attack by Fatah’s security services,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera.
“The ones who will pay the price are the Palestinian people themselves. The Palestinian Authority may impose more punitive measures against the Gaza Strip and it is imperative that Hamas captures those behind the attack as soon as possible,” he continued.
“This explosion will have repercussions for the people in Gaza.”