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Explosion rocks Gaza in apparent assassination attempt

Vehicle of senior Hamas official blown up by Palestinian assailants in sign of increasing instability in the Strip

The Israeli border fence with Gaza (David Buimovitch/Flash90)
The Israeli border fence with Gaza (David Buimovitch/Flash90)

The vehicle of a senior Hamas official exploded Friday in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, injuring a civilian. The official, Sami al-Hams, was not wounded in the incident, the Palestinian al-Quds news station reported.

Initial reports suggested that Palestinian assailants deliberately targeted al-Hams and that they placed explosive charges beneath his car.

In late January, unidentified assailants blew up the car of a Hamas security official in Gaza, in a sign of increasing instability in the Palestinian enclave. Witnesses said the car belonged to Helmi Khalaf, administrative and financial manager of the Hamas-run military police. It was unclear who carried out that alleged attack.

A series of explosions in November targeted officials from Fatah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s own political party, but caused no injuries.

Observers have warned of the dangers of Hamas losing control inside Gaza to more radical Islamists including Salafists with whom it has clashed in the past.

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