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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' convoy attacked in West Bank: Report

The "Sons of Abu Jandal" group demanded Abbas to announce a full confrontation against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Notably, Abbas is the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which rules the West Bank and was ousted from Gaza by Hamas in 2007.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Ramallah (West Bank) Updated on: November 08, 2023 11:14 IST
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met US Secretary of
Image Source : AP Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' convoy came under armed attack on Tuesday, in which one of his bodyguards was killed, according to reports. A radical militant group named 'Sons of Abu Jandal' claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group had reportedly given Abbas a 24-hour ultimatum to take action against Israel's continuous bombardment of Gaza. After the deadline expired, the group attacked the Palestinian President's convoy.

The "Sons of Abu Jandal" group demanded Abbas to produce a clear position vis-a-vis the bombardment of the Gaza Strip and announce a full confrontation with the Israeli occupation. It claimed to be members of the Palestinian Authority's Fatah group that was ousted from power by Hamas in 2007.

Notably, Abbas is the chair of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) that rules over the occupied West Bank region and is a political rival of Hamas. The attack came after Abbas met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the West Bank on Sunday, where the former asked Israel to stop its attack.

What did Blinken and Abbas discuss?

In his gruelling Middle East trip, Blinken travelled to Ramallah for his previously unannounced visit in an armoured motorcade and under tight security just hours after Israeli warplanes struck a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens.

When word spread of Blinken's arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, dozens of Palestinians turned out to protest, holding signs showing dripping blood and with messages that included, “Blinken blood is on your hands."

Abbas, however, said the Palestinian Authority would only assume power in Gaza as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the Palestinians’ official WAFA news agency. He also condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as a “genocidal war” and urged Blinken “to immediately stop them from committing such crimes,” the news agency reported.

Abbas also emphasised that security and peace can only be achieved by ending Israel's military rule over the territories of the "State of Palestine" and recognising East Jerusalem as its capital. This statement comes amid uncertainty regarding the future governance of Gaza and concerns about a potential power vacuum, as Israel has pledged to eliminate Hamas in the ongoing conflict.

What do Arab nations say?

In the Turkish capital of Ankara, Blinken met with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan following a frantic weekend of travel that took him from Israel to Jordan, the occupied West Bank, Cyprus and Iraq, to build support for the Biden administration's proposal for “humanitarian pauses” to Israel's relentless military campaign in Gaza.

Arab and Muslim nations are demanding an immediate ceasefire as the casualty toll soars among Palestinian civilians under Israeli bombardments of Gaza. Several countries, including Jordan and Turkey have recalled their ambassadors to Israel to protest its tactics and the tide of international opinion appears to be turning from sympathy toward Israel in the aftermath of October 7 to revulsion as images of death and destruction in Gaza spread around the world.

South Africa became the latest country on Monday to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv and has even threatened diplomatic action against the Israeli envoy over the escalating situation in Gaza.

Israeli troops have been battling Palestinian militants inside Gaza for over a week, and have succeeded in cutting the territory in half and encircling Gaza City. Food, medicine, fuel and water are running low, and United Nations-run schools-turned-shelters are overflowing.

The Palestinian death toll has surpassed 10,000, the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said Monday, including over 4,100 minors. More than 2,300 people are missing and believed to be buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings, the ministry said. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants, and Israel says it has killed thousands of fighters.

About 1,400 people in Israel have died, mostly civilians killed in the Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas. Israelis observed a moment of silence Tuesday in memory of the victims. The 30th day is a milestone in Jewish mourning, and memorial events are planned in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | A recap of how the Israel-Hamas war has engulfed almost whole Middle East in the past 30 days

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