Hamas security chief, injured in car bombing, says unity deal still on track
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Hamas security chief, injured in car bombing, says unity deal still on track

Emerging from the hospital, Tawfiq Abu Naim says Hamas will meet November 1 deadline to hand over border crossing control to Palestinian Authority

In this photo released by the Hamas media office, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas terror group's political bureau, visits Tawfiq Abu Naim at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on October 27, 2017. (Mohammad Austaz, Hamas Media Office via AP)
In this photo released by the Hamas media office, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas terror group's political bureau, visits Tawfiq Abu Naim at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on October 27, 2017. (Mohammad Austaz, Hamas Media Office via AP)

Hamas security chief Tawfiq Abu Naim left hospital Saturday after being wounded in a car bombing and pledged that an agreement aimed at ending a decade-long rift with rivals Fatah would remain on track.

The Friday explosion that moderately wounded Abu Naim was branded by terror group Hamas as “a failed assassination attempt.”

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh signaled Israel was to blame, but no one has claimed responsibility. Other reports have indicated that Hamas officials in Gaza believe the Islamic State jihadist group is behind the attack.

Abu Naim said in a statement on Saturday that “the objectives of those who committed this despicable act will not be achieved.”

“We are determined to leave the split behind and realise the important national unity at all costs,” he said.

Abu Naim said a November 1 deadline for Hamas to hand over border crossings to the Palestinian Authority would be adhered to.

A picture taken on October 27, 2017 shows Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas gathering around the car of Hamas’ security chief, Tawfiq Abu Naim, after it was blown up in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza strip, leaving him injured. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement signed a reconciliation accord on October 12 with the Hamas terror group, which has run the Gaza Strip for 10 years.

Under the deal, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is to resume control of Gaza — which Hamas seized in a near civil war with Fatah in 2007 — by December 1.

The fate of the Hamas security forces after it transfers power to the PA in the territory is one of the most delicate issues facing the reconciliation process.

Abbas wants the handover to be comprehensive and include all security institutions, but the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has said “no one” can force his group to disarm.

Israel and the United States have meanwhile said that Hamas must disarm as part of any unity government.

They have also said it must recognize Israel.

The Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation has recognized Israel, but Hamas has not. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

While Haniyeh had initially blamed Israel for the attack, top Gaza officials said that a preliminary investigation of the incident points to Islamic State, according to Channel 2.

Egyptian authorities are helping Hamas with the investigation into the explosion.

As part of the Palestinian unity deal that was brokered by Egypt, Hamas has had to crackdown on the IS gunmen who have been active on both sides of Gaza’s border with Egypt. For the last several years, Egypt has been fighting a bitter insurgency in the Sinai that has killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers.

Abu Naim has been leading the recent Hamas efforts against IS.

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