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Friday, 7 November 2014

Palestinian PM cancels Gaza visit after coordinated blasts target Fatah.........

A series of explosions targeted the homes of several officials of President Mahmoud Abbas' party in the Gaza Strip early Friday

Fayez Abu Eitta (L), a Fatah leader in Gaza, speaks on the phone as he inspects damage to his car.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and other senior Fatah officials have canceled a planned visit to Gaza following a series of explosions targeted at Fatah Party members in the Strip on Friday.  
Hamdallah, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikhwere meant to visit Hamas leaders in the coastal enclave on Saturday. Al-Sheikh blamed Hamas for the blasts, citing tensions between the two organizations. Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the explosion struck a fatal blow to reconciliation efforts with Hamas.
According to sources in Fatah, unidentified assailants placed explosive devices at the entrances of homes of Fatah members and under their cars. Abdullah Al-Farjani, a member of the central committee and Faisal Abu Shala, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eitta, and another 13 central Fatah figures were targeted. Another blast went off at a stage set up for a commemoration of Yasser Arafat's death. The explosions caused widespread damage, but no casualties.
The event on November 11 will be the first time since 2007 that his death is commemorated in Gaza.
Abu Eitta refused to speculate on who was behind the blasts,  Associated Press reported, saying the incident was under investigation. There were no signs of Israeli involvement, and the military said it was unaware of the blasts.
Hamas condemned the blasts and called on the security apparatus in the Strip to bring the perpetrators to justice. Despite recent efforts to to set up a new Palestinian unity government, there have been tensions between the two parties because of a lack of progress in the rehabilitation of the Strip after the 50-day Israel-Hamas hostilities in the summer, and the control of the border crossings.
Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007. The rival parties have recently pledged to reconcile, but there are still deep differences.
During the previous commemoration, which took place shortly after the Hamas takeover that year, at least 10 people were killed in clashes between the rival sides, and Hamas activists have spoken out against this year's event. A prominent Fatah blog said the stage for the ceremony was also hit by a blast, though the report could not be immediately confirmed.