Hamas reopens telecoms company in Gaza after bomb row

Hamas reopens telecoms company in Gaza after bomb row
Hamas will reopen Wataniya telecom after temporarily shutting the Qatari-owned company for not complying with the Hamdallah assassination investigation.
2 min read
21 March, 2018
Hamas temporarily shut Qatari-owned Wataniya telecom for not complying with the Hamdallah assassination investigation [Getty]

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas is to reopen the Gaza offices of a major telecommunications firm, officials said Tuesday, after a row over a probe into the attempted assassination of the Palestinian Prime Minister last week.

The Hamas-run police in Gaza closed down the Wataniya Mobile firm in the Palestinian enclave on Saturday, after the state prosecutor accused it of failing to comply with the investigation into the bomb attack targeting Rami Hamdallah.

Hamdallah, who heads the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank, was unharmed when a roadside bomb on March 13 blew up near his convoy during a rare visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Six of his bodyguards were lightly wounded.

The attorney general in Gaza said in a statement on Tuesday that the company would reopen fully, without giving further details.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the bomb attack, though Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Monday directly accused Hamas.

Speaking to Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, Abbas said if the attack had succeeded it would have "opened the way for a bloody civil war".

The Islamist movement rejected the charge and said it was investigating, suggesting Israel might be to blame.

Other possible suspects include smaller, more radical Islamist groups that operate in Gaza but are opposed to Hamas. 

The apparent assassination attempt further complicated an already faltering reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas's secular Fatah party.

Abbas has previously taken a series of measures, including a devastating reduction in electricity payments for Gaza's two million residents, in what analysts said was an attempt to punish Hamas.