Hamas shuts Qatari cell provider in Gaza

Hamas shuts Qatari cell provider in Gaza
Hamas shut down the offices of Wataniya Mobile for refusing to cooperate in an investigation into the assassination attempt of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
2 min read
18 March, 2018
A second bomb that failed to detonate contained a Wataniya SIM card [Getty]

Hamas shut the offices of the Qatari-Palestinian Wataniya Mobile for what it says is the telecom's refusal to cooperate in investigating an explosion that targeted the visiting Palestinian prime minister, AP reported.

Hamas police spokesman Ayman Batniji said on Saturday that the company, a subsidiary of Qatar's Ooredoo, was being shut down for "refusing to cooperate".

A roadside bomb struck a convoy carrying Rami Hamdallah earlier this week as he crossed into Gaza from Israel. Local reports say a second bomb that failed to detonate contained a Wataniya SIM card.

Following the attempted assassination, the Hamas Interior Ministry announced that it launched a committee to investigate the incident - further damaging reconciliation talks between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza Strip-based Hamas.

Earlier this week, Hamas arrested several phone company workers who allegedly facilitated the attack, according to Ynet news

PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that none of his government members would travel to Gaza in the short term "due to the security problems".

Abbas said Hamas was responsible as it runs the Strip but stopped short of outright accusing the group for the assassination plot.

But Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, says Israel is to blame for the incident. 

Hamdallah said the attack would not end his government's commitment to continue with reconciliation and again called on Hamas to hand over all power in Gaza.

In October, Hamas agreed to hand power back to the PA in the West Bank, but talks have all but collapsed since then.

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