Palestinian Rift Reopens As Abbas Blames Hamas For Bombings

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused his Hamas rivals of carrying out a series of bombings against officials loyal to him in Gaza last week, in a move sure to harm already floundering unity efforts.

A series of small explosions targeted the homes and vehicles of officials from Abbas’s Fatah movement on Friday, causing minor damage but no injuries.

A bomb also demolished a stage erected to commemorate the 10th anniversary of former  Fatah terrorist leader Yasser Arafat’s death, leading to the event being cancelled.

“Who committed this crime? The leadership of the Hamas movement did, and it’s responsible!” Abbas roared to applause at a Fatah rally for Arafat in Ramallah.

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 civil war with Fatah.

The parties agreed in September that Hamas would relinquish Gaza’s land crossings with Israel to the unity government in order to facilitate the entry of reconstruction aid. Amid mutual blame, no change of guard occurred and almost no building materials have entered the Strip.

Hamas denounced the remarks, which stopped short of calling for a formal break with Abbas.