Hamas closes Qatari-Palestinian cellphone provider over PM attack

Arab News,
18 March

Hamas on
Saturday shut the offices of a Qatari-Palestinian telecommunications company in
connection with its investigation into an explosion that targeted the visiting
Palestinian prime minister.


pass by close offices of a Qatari-Palestinian cellular, Wataniya Mobile, in
Gaza City, on Saturday. (AP)
CITY: Hamas police spokesman Ayman Batniji said on Saturday that Wataniya
Mobile, a subsidiary of Qatar’s Ooredoo, was being closed down for “refusing to
cooperate” in the inquiry.

roadside bomb struck a convoy carrying Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah earlier
this week after he crossed into Gaza from Israel, wounding some of his
bodyguards. Local reports say a second bomb that failed to detonate contained a
Wataniya SIM card.

West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) held Hamas responsible for the
attack. Hamas rejected the accusation and blamed Israel.

mobile telephone service was not cut off.
There has been no claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s bomb attack.
Hamas has launched an investigation and made several arrests.

apparent assassination attempt further complicated an already faltering
reconciliation agreement between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’ secular
Fatah party.

is prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah and
controls the West Bank. Fatah has been in dispute with Hamas since 2006, when
the movement won legislative elections in the Occupied Territories by a

erupted in Gaza a year later, with both sides carrying out public executions of
rival fighters. Hamas emerged victorious and has controlled the strip ever

While the
two factions signed a reconciliation deal last October, ill-feeling persists.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum wrote on Facebook that Fatah had used the
assassination attempt to launch a media campaign “steeped in hatred and
exclusion of Hamas.”

El-Masary, 36, told Arab News that customers at his hairdressing salon had been
feverishly discussing the attempt on Hamdallah’s life.

seriously fear the dispute between Fatah and Hamas will continue for a long
time and reconciliation will become impossible. We are lost between the two
rivals,” he said.