Senior Hamas official wounded in Gaza car explosion

October 27, 2017

In this photo released by the Hammas media office, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, visits Gen. Tawfiq Abu Naim at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Hamas said in a statement Friday that Gen. Tawfiq Abu Naim "survived an assassination attempt", after he was wounded in an explosion in his car. (Mohammad Austaz, Hamas Media Office via AP)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The head of Gaza security services was wounded when an explosion ripped through his car Friday, according to the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the territory. The group called the blast a failed assassination attempt.

Hamas said a bomb placed under Gen. Tawfiq Abu Naim’s car exploded in central Gaza. It said Abu Naim “survived an assassination attempt” and that an investigation was underway.

Abu Naim was transferred to Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where dozens of Hamas officials gathered and visited him, including politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh.

“Those who think that this criminal operation can limit our determination to achieve the reconciliation are wrong,” Haniyeh said.

Footage at hospital showed Abu Naim with shrapnel injuries on his arms and a bandage on his head.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 when it ousted forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leaving Palestinians divided.

The incident comes amid reconciliation efforts between the two Palestinian groups.

Abu Naim supports reconciliation efforts with Abbas’ Fatah party. He is also working with Egypt on securing Gaza’s border with Sinai to block extremists like Islamic State group fighters from moving between the two territories.

Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, accused Israel of being behind the assassination bid.

“We point the accusation fingers to the (Israel) occupation and its spies,” al-Hayya told reporters, as an investigation into the incident begins.

But Islamic State loyalists, against whom Abu Naim is leading a crackdown, are strong suspects, experts say. Abu Naim is overseeing construction of a buffer zone on Gaza’s border with Egypt to keep IS fighters out.

Update hourly