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Explosion strikes Palestinian PM's convoy in Gaza

AP  |  Jabaliya (Gaza Strip) 

An explosion struck the convoy of the Palestinian today as he was making a rare visit to Gaza, in what his party called an assassination attempt it blamed on militants.

The explosion went off shortly after the convoy entered through the Erez crossing with

Palestinian was unharmed and went on to inaugurate a long-awaited sewage plant project in the northern part of the strip. But quickly held Gaza's Islamic rulers responsible for the "cowardly attack" on the convoy, further escalating tensions between the bitter rival factions.

Three of the vehicles in Hamdallah's convoy were damaged, their windows blown out. One had signs of blood on the door.

Hamdallah, who is based in the West Bank, arrived in Hamas-run to inaugurate the sewage plant and said there that the attack will "not deter from seeking to end the bitter split. We will still come to Gaza."

The rival factions have been trying to reconcile since 2007 when seized control of Gaza from forces and have suffered several setbacks in their efforts since. The takeover left the Palestinians with two rival governments, in Gaza and the Western-backed governing autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied

In November, Hamas handed over control of Gaza's border crossings to the It was the first tangible concession in years of Egyptian-brokered reconciliation talks. But negotiations have bogged down since then.

Hamdallah's visit comes amid a time of crisis in Gaza.

Today, the is hosting a special meeting to discuss Gaza's devastated economy.

The plant in question was envisioned in 2007 after overburdened sewage reservoirs collapsed, killing five villagers. The World Bank, and other European governments have paid nearly USD 75 million in funding.

Hamas' takeover of Gaza from the in 2007 and the ensuing Israeli-Egyptian blockade, power shortages and conflicts delayed the opening of the project for four years.

Besides the old reservoirs, the plant will receive wastewater from four towns and villages. After treatment, the water will be transferred for irrigation and the remainder will be safely dumped to the sea.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 13 2018. 15:30 IST