On Tuesday, March 13, an explosion occurred near Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's vehicle convoy in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The explosion, believed to be an assassination attempt against the PM, reportedly only resulted in minor injuries and damage to three cars. The PM was unharmed and gave a speech minutes later to inaugurate a waste treatment plant in the Gaza Strip.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced he held Hamas accountable for the attack.
The Gaza Strip has been under Hamas control, and subject to an Israeli-imposed blockade, since June 2007. Humanitarian conditions in Gaza have deteriorated over the past decade, including shortages of potable water and regular, widespread power cuts. The coastal enclave is one of the most densely-populated regions of the world, home to over 2 million people.
In October 2017, after years of conflict between the two groups, Hamas and the PA reached an agreement intended to allow for PA control over the Gaza Strip by early December 2017 in exchange for the lifting of crippling electricity restrictions on Gaza. This deal, however, remains largely unimplemented.
Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and to remain vigilant when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, etc.). As a reminder, several Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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