RAMALLAH - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas directly accused Hamas on Monday of carrying out a bomb attack against prime minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza last week, threatening fresh sanctions against them.

Abbas had previously said the Islamist group was responsible as it controls security in the Palestinian enclave, but Monday evening said they were “behind the attack.”

Hamdallah was uninjured in the March 13 attack, which saw a roadside bomb explode as his convoy entered Gaza in what Palestinian officials have called an assassination attempt.

Six of his security guards were lightly hurt.

Speaking to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said if the attack had succeeded it would have “opened the way for a bloody civil war.” He said the incident would “not be allowed to pass” and announced he would take unspecified “national, legal and financial measures.”

Hamas did not immediately respond to the comments. The Islamists and Abbas’s secular party Fatah have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza in a near civil war.

Abbas controls the internationally-recognised Palestinian government, based in the occupied West Bank which Hamdallah leads.

Abbas has previously taken a series of measures, including reducing electricity payments for Gaza’s two million residents, in what analysts said was an attempt to punish Hamas.

Hamas and Fatah agreed a reconciliation agreement in October but it has collapsed.

Abbas calls US ambassador to

Israel ‘son of a dog’

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas labelled the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman a “son of a dog” on Monday during a scathing attack on Donald Trump’s policies.

“The US ambassador in Tel Aviv is a settler and a son of a dog,” Abbas said in comments to Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.

Relations between Abbas’s government and President Trump’s US administration have broken down since the White House recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

The Palestinians also see the disputed city as the capital of their future state.

Friedman, who was Trump’s personal lawyer before being appointed last year, is a longstanding supporter of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, considered illegal under international law.

On Monday, Friedman referred to an attack in the West Bank as “in the north”, raising questions over whether he views it as part of Israeli territory, and accused Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) of failing to condemn it.

“Such brutality and no condemnation from the PA!” he tweeted, referring to a Friday car ramming that killed two soldiers and a Sunday stabbing in Jerusalem that left an Israeli dead, both carried out by Palestinians.

Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank since 1967 but Abbas’s government has limited autonomy in parts of it.