Series of blasts strike Fatah targets in Gaza
A series of small explosions targeted the homes and vehicles of officials from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip on Friday, members of the party and witnesses said, causing minor damage but no injuries, Reuters reported.
The explosions came days ahead of the 10th anniversary of the death of former Palestinian president and Fatah leader Yasser Arafat, a memorial that has lead to tensions between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza.
Senior Fatah official Abdallah Abu Samhadana said the Nov. 11 commemoration would go ahead despite the explosions, one of which targeted the wooden stage where the event is to be held.
“No one will deter us from holding the event, regardless of what explosions and terror they commit,” Samhadana said in a statement carried on the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA.
Hamas condemned the explosions as a “criminal” act and ordered those who carried them out to be brought to justice.
PM cancels Gaza visit
In reaction to the blasts, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah cancelled a visit to Gaza planned for Saturday, government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told AFP.
Hamdallah had been due to meet in Gaza with the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.
Hamas and Fatah agreed in April to form a “reconciliation” government, an effort to overcome deep political rifts that date back to 2007, when Hamas seized power in Gaza after a weeks-long civil war with Fatah.
It was not clear who carried out Friday’s attacks, but a letter left at the scene of one of the blasts was signed by Islamic State. Fatah sources said they doubted the letter was authentic and more likely an attempt by attackers to spread fear and cover for their true identity.