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State of Emergency Declared in Gaza After Suicide Bombings

Funeral procession for one of the three police officers killed in Tuesday's attacks. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)
Funeral procession for one of the three police officers killed in Tuesday's attacks. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

A spokesman for the Islamist Hamas party pointed fingers at the Palestinian Authority in the wake of two suicide bombings in Gaza.

On Tuesday, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza declared a state of emergency across the Gaza Strip in the wake of two suicide bombings in western and southern Gaza city.

A statement released Tuesday by the Palestinian ministry of interior in the territory read that two suicide attacks targeted traffic police outposts, claiming the lives of three police members.

The statement noted that in one of the attacks, a motorcycle passed by a traffic police checkpoint, south of Gaza city, claiming the lives of two personnel and wounding a passerby, seriously.

Less than one hour later, a second bombing occurred to the west of Gaza city, mainly on the Alrashid coastal road, leading to the killing of a third police member and injury of several other residents.

Iyad Al-Bozom, spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza was quoted as saying that the security services have opened an investigation into the blasts and that an early probe revealed that two suicide members have carried out the attacks, which are rare in the region.

“The sinful hands that carried out the bombings will not go unpunished,” Al-Bozom vowed in a televised speech, hours after the blasts.

He added that the identities of the perpetrators have been figured out.

Throughout the Gaza Strip, police patrols have been beefed up at main junctions and crossroads.

Hamas Accuses its Fatah Rival

Following the incidents, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza pointed fingers at the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) intelligence service in the West Bank city of Ramallah, accusing the service and it’s head, Majed Faraj, of having orchestrated the suicide bombings.

A spokesman for the Islamist Hamas party, Fawzi Barhoum, was quoted by Palestinian Maan New Agency as saying that the chief of the PA’s intelligence service and his subordinates in Gaza could be behind the attacks, with the aim of destabilizing Gaza and serving the Israeli occupation.

In response to Hamas’ accusations, the rival Fatah party of the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, said that such a statement is vehemently rejected and is merely a lie that would only fuel tension and hamper the 2017 unity deal signed between the two long-held rival parties in Cairo.

Fatah considered the Hamas’ accusations as being a way out of Hamas’ current impasse, after what Fatah called the failure of Hamas to take necessary steps towards reconciliation and society building.

In a statement released Tuesday by Fatah’s chief of media affairs Moneer Aljaghoub, the secular party believed that the bombings are a natural outcome of Hamas’s own extremist doctrine and conflict with other Islamist groups that have taken more extremist ideologies, such as those of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, known as ISIL or Da’esh.

Palestinian political Islamic and national factions in the Gaza Strip unanimously condemned Tuesday’s attacks, which they consider to be rare, across the tiny coastal strip.

In a joint statement, they all said that only the Israeli occupation is the one benefiting from such attacks. They also called for immediately bringing to justice those behind them.

A ‘Stupid’ Act

Commenting to Citizen Truth over the blasts, Hisham Saleem, a leading security analyst in Gaza, said that the blasts had been orchestrated, most likely, by the Israeli occupation, with Palestinians being the perpetrators.

“Those stupid Palestinians who carried out the attacks have apparently helped the Israeli occupation to contain a volatile situation in the region, in light of deadly individual Palestinian infiltrations into borders, recently,” Saleem told the Citizen Truth.

He believed that such attacks would be counterproductive, since they targeted civilian police forces and not a security object.

“Through my own follow-up, I believe strongly that the Israeli occupation will turn solely responsible for the blasts. Hamas will be rather strengthened and not weakened. The coming days will prove that some influential Palestinians have been behind Tuesday’s bombings. The Israeli occupation now fears that Palestinians might burst into Israel because of the current state of stalemate. Israel might have wanted from the blasts to make Gaza engaged in something very internal and different,” Saleem stated.

The attacks on Tuesday come as the region has recently witnessed an apparent state of tension on the border between Israel and Gaza, the latest sign of which was the Israeli killing of five individual resistance fighters, who attempted to carry out a cross-border attack against Israeli troops.

Israeli Elections

With Israeli parliamentary elections to be held on September 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed carrying out a large-scale attack on the Gaza Strip, while his opponents have demanded he take tougher action toward Gaza.

As of Tuesday, Israeli warplanes raided a Hamas post in northern Gaza after a Palestinian rocket reportedly was launched into southern Israel.

This week, the Israeli PM ordered a reduction, by half, in the quantity of fuel shipped to Gaza’s power plant and shortened the distance of Gaza’s fishing zone off the coast of Gaza.

Israel demands the ruling Hamas party to stop rocket fire from the territory, while Hamas says that Israel is responsible for any deterioration of the security situation, given Israel’s repeated raids on the territory.

United Nation’s Special Envoy for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Nicholai Mladenov, had earlier warned of the security deterioration in the region and the lack of political leadership to resolve the situation.

According to Israel Hayom, Mladenov told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that violence is taking place “against the backdrop of the complete political deadlock of the Middle East peace process and the lack of any perspective to revive it.”

The U.N., Egypt and Qatar have attempted to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based armed factions including Hamas for the past year and a half.

Since March 2018, large Palestinian crowds have staged peaceful border protests on a weekly basis to assert their right of return to historic Palestine and to call for the end of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the territory.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, the Israeli army has killed more than 300 Palestinian border demonstrators and wounded more than 17,000 others since the onset of the protests.

Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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  1. Jerry Tanenbaum August 29, 2019

    Suicide attacks are “extremely rare”??? Suicide attacks occur very frequently on Israelis. The Palestinians pay the attackers’ Families and most of the attackers know they won’t survive. Not at all “rare”

    And “peaceful demonstrations” at the border??? Throwing Molotov cocktails ; including fighters trying to infiltrate; sending incendiary kites; storming the border en masse with knives etc —- “peaceful” is not the appropriate term

    1. OptimusPrime August 30, 2019

      And how would you respond to other people who have invaded, stolen your land or country. make um coffee and buy lunch ?

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