Hamas defends the attack, Abbas opposes it — although a Fatah group, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, has claimed credit for it. What an elaborate charade: Abbas says he can overrule the group, but what does that mean? Stop them from carrying out suicide bombings? He couldn’t do that before Hamas was in power. What makes him think he can now? From Reuters, with thanks to JE:
GAZA (Reuters) – The Islamist group Hamas defended on Friday a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis as “resistance” against Israeli “crimes,” putting it at odds with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned the attack.
Hours after the bombing, Israeli warplanes and artillery struck the Gaza Strip, though no casualties were reported.
A car explosion in Gaza later killed a top leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, a group that frequently fires rockets into Israel. The army, which often targets Palestinian militants in airstrikes, denied involvement in the blast.
The conflicting statements of Hamas and Abbas on the West Bank suicide bombing were the first since the president swore in the Palestinian Authority’s first Hamas government on Wednesday.
Abbas has said he could overrule the group, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction, if it continues to block peacemaking.
The suicide bombing, claimed by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, occurred days after Israeli leader Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party won elections on a platform of setting Israel’s borders in the occupied West Bank unilaterally in the absence of peace talks.