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Stun grenade thrown at Fatah official's home in Gaza amid PA-Hamas tensions

Jan. 19, 2017 2:41 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 20, 2017 11:39 A.M.)
An explosive set fire to a car near a mosque in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two explosive devices blew up in the Gaza Strip between Wednesday and Thursday, with one of them reportedly targeting a Fatah official in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Unknown assailants threw a stun grenade in front of the home of the Fatah party’s secretary-general in eastern Gaza, Nayif Khweiter, in the al-Shujaaiya neighborhood of Gaza City late Wednesday.

Khweiter told Ma’an that the grenade exploded at around 10:00 p.m. in front of his house, and that no one was injured.

Khweiter held what he called the “fait accompli government of Gaza” responsible for the incident -- in reference to the de facto Hamas-led government in the small Palestinian territory -- and demanded that the identities of the assailants be revealed.

The Fatah movement in eastern Gaza condemned the explosion, saying that it marked “a dangerous shift which harms the unity of our people, threatens Palestinian internal relations, and obstructs efforts to end division and regain national unity.”

It added that it would not be standing aside but would “strike with an iron fist” all those suspected of trying to harm Fatah and its members, and called on all sides to hold those responsible accountable.

The explosion could mark the latest tension between Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, amid reports that the two parties were in talks to establish a unity government.

Meanwhile, an explosive device also detonated in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Thursday morning.

Witnesses told Ma’an that an explosion was heard in the camp when an explosive device exploded in a vehicle parked near the al-Daawa mosque.

No injuries were reported.

Palestinian police arrived to the scene and opened an investigation into the incident.

Tensions between Hamas and the PA have risen in recent weeks, with each side accusing the other of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests, and blaming each other for an ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip which left the majority of Palestinians there with only three hours of power a day for more than a week.

Fatah and Hamas have been embroiled in conflict since Hamas' election victory in 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, which erupted into a violent conflict between the two movements as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has so far repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Officials from the Fatah-led PA have criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.

Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically-motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
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