Anas Abu Khoussa, the suspected perpetrator of the recent bomb attack on the convoy of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, has been killed in a gun battle with security forces in the Gaza Strip.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza, Iyad Al-Bazm, said that the security services closed the Nusseirat area in central Gaza this morning, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the area, as an armed clash between the guards and the gunmen took place.
One of Abu Khoussa’s aides, Abdul Hadi Al-Ashhab, was also killed and another was arrested.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 22, 2018
Local sources have confirmed that two security guards – Ziad Al-Hawajri and Hammad Abu Suwayrah from the Palestinian Security Services – were also killed in the gun battle.
“From the moment the prime minister was targeted, the Ministry of the Interior set up a high level security commission of inquiry to uncover the circumstances around the crime,” the government body said in a statement.
“In the framework of intensive and ongoing investigations, the security services on Wednesday identified the main person behind the implementation of the bombing, Anas Abdul Malik Abu Khoussa.”
The Palestinian government calls upon Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip a day after President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the group for the failed assassination attempt on the Palestinian prime minister pic.twitter.com/GpzEgLdYEN
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) March 20, 2018
Security forces located Abu Khoussa and his aides west of the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, and besieged them, demanding they surrender, “but they immediately fired at the security force,” the statement added.
The attack on Hamdallah’s convoy took place on Tuesday last week as the prime minister and his entourage, which included Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj, were visiting the inauguration of a wastewater-treatment plant in the Hamas-run Gaza strip.
Seven of the security guards were injured in the bomb blast but survived, Hamdallah escaped unscathed to continue with the inauguration. On his return to Ramallah, he insisted that the attack “does not represent patriotism. It is a cowardly act that does not represent our people, nor does it represent the people of Gaza.”
Family of the policeman, Ziad Ahmed Al-Hawajrie, who was killed today in Gaza in the line of duty pic.twitter.com/OEqYM7yF2I
— Muhammad Smiry – Gaza (@MuhammadSmiry) March 22, 2018
The Fatah party, of which Hamdallah and President Mahmoud Abbas belong to, called it a “terrorist attack” and blamed it on Hamas.
The convoy attack reopened a longstanding rift between the Fatah party, which rules the West Bank from its capital Ramallah, and its rival party Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip. Following the assassination attempt, relations have declined up to the point that the Palestinian Authority this week demanded that Hamas hand over the Gaza Strip entirely.
Gaza security forces detain main suspect in last week's assassination attempt against Palestine's PM Hamdallah after gunbattle in which 2 security officers were killed https://t.co/wI0JKuqmHy
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) March 22, 2018
Both parties signed a reconciliation agreement in October 2017, ending a decade of division and enmity between the two Palestinian factions.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)