Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas take up positions during an operation to arrest the main suspect in an assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in the central Gaza Strip March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Musta
CAIRO - 22 March 2018: Hamas-run security forces in Gaza announced Thursday the death of the main suspect in last week's assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah after a gun battle in which two security officers were killed, a security official said.
Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas search for the main suspect in an assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in the central Gaza Strip March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
The suspect, Anas Abdel Malik Abu Khousa, and two of his assistants were wounded in the shootout with security forces that surrounded his hideout at al-Nuseirat Camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, the official said. The other wounded suspect, Abdel Hady al-Ashahb, died of wounds afterwards.
Blood is seen on the scene of a gun battle during an operation to arrest the main suspect in an assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in the central Gaza Strip March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
During a press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to hand the authority in Gaza to the Palestinian consensus government, especially the security authority, blaming the Islamist group for the repercussions of failing the Egyptian efforts to end the division between Palestinian factions.
Hamdallah and Palestinian security chief Majid Faraj's convoy was attacked by a roadside bomb in Gaza on March 13. They were uninjured; Hamdallah said he will return to the strip once again to attain inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks after he survived an assassination attempt in Gaza, at his office in the Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Abbas has blamed Hamas for the explosion. His remarks threatened the reconciliation efforts to end a decade-old rift between his Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas group that is dominant in Gaza.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a news conference with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Hamas had declared a $5,000 reward for anyone providing information about the suspect's whereabouts. It provided no immediate details on his alleged motive or his affiliation to any militant group.
Abbas, who is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has offered no evidence of the involvement of Hamas in the attempt against Hamdallah's life. But he said he did not trust Hamas to investigate the incident and that there had been "zero" progress in the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Fatah in 2007.
Cairo has played a key role in the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas. In October 2017, a reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo between both parties. A high-profile delegation has been visiting Gaza frequently during the past period to meet with all parties in order to ease any tensions that prevent the reconciliation agreement from being fully-implemented.
On February 25, the delegation started one of its longest visits, which lasted until March 8. During the visit, the delegation met with several Palestinian leaders from all parties and factions.
Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh receives Egypt's Intelligence Chief Khaled Fawzy in Gaza on October 3, 2017- Press Photo
The list of separate meetings included meetings with Palestinian Minister of Transportation Sameh Tubeila, Palestinian Minister of Culture Ihab Bseiso, head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, a number of tribal heads in Gaza, and several members of the Palestinian unity government, according to Palestinian media outlets.
The Egyptian security delegation returned again to Gaza on March 11 to continue their efforts and meetings. Shortly after the attack, they issued a statement in which they deeply condemned the incident, praising Hamdallah’s stance and statements that followed the attack.