CAIRO: A visit by the new Palestinian unity government to Gaza was canceled after bombings targeted the homes and vehicles of some 15 Fatah leaders in Gaza early Friday, according to Palestinian news websites.
The attacks, which left no casualties, coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. The homes of former Gaza governor Abdullah al-Efrenji and Fatah spokesperson Fayez Abu Aita were among the buildings damaged.
The podium at which Arafat’s commemoration was planned to be held was also destroyed. Arafat’s death anniversary has not been held in Gaza in seven years.
The new Palestinian government said this “heinous act of destroying homes and property” works against its projects to rebuild Gaza and efforts to reach Palestinian unity, and distracts from “ongoing Israeli violations” in Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Both Fatah and Hamas condemned the bombings, and Hamas’ Gaza-based ministry of interior announced it would investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Hamas political bureau chief Moussa Abu Marzouq urged Rami al-Hamdallah, the prime minister of the new national unity government, and other ministers scheduled to visit Gaza Saturday, to go ahead with their planned visit. He also called for an immediate meeting of all Palestinian political forces to “show solidarity” with Fatah, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
Allegations against Hamas
However, Fatah spokesperson Osama al-Qawasmi claimed Hamas was actually behind the bombings, citing bloody clashes in 2007 between the two rivals, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.
A year after Hamas won parliamentary elections in Gaza in 2006; it forcibly took over the entire governance of the strip, and has not conducted new elections since.
The Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center said that hours before the bombings, rival supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan engaged in fights at the Gaza Al-Azhar University.
Abbas’ relations with the ambitious politician Dahlan have been uneasy for years, culminating in Dahlan’s expulsion from Fatah in 2011.