An explosion went off in a car traveling near the Palestinian Authority government headquarters in central Gaza City on Saturday evening, killing one person and wounding several others, witnesses and officials said.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.
Earlier on Saturday, a bomb tore apart an elevator shaft in a security building, seriously wounding the intelligence chief.
Palestinian Authority Chairman on Saturday ordered an investigation into an explosion that took place in an intelligence headquarters in Gaza City hours earlier, killing one person and wounding at least ten, including intelligence service commander Gen. Tareq Abu Rajeb and his bodyguards.
Abu Rajeb was the chief intelligence officer, who was known to be an associate of Abbas.
Abbas called the blast “unfortunate” and said it poses a “grave danger” to the Palestinian Authority.
The wounded were driven to a nearby hospital in cars of the intelligence service. After first being operated on in Gaza, Abu Rajeb was then taken to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv to receive further medical treatment, Israel Radio reported. His condition was reported to be not life-threatening.
The circumstances of the explosion were not immediately clear. The Ministry of the Interior spokesman suggested that a hand grenade was accidentally dropped inside the elevator. Still, it was also speculated that the blast was an assassination attempt against Abu Rajeb. A third report told of shots that were fired at the officer and his bodyguards after the explosion. There was no claim of responsibility.
Abu Rajab and his entourage entered his personal elevator and were close to the second floor when the explosion went off, security officials said. The explosion caused massive damage, and bomb experts were sent to the scene to investigate, The Associated Press reported.
Army Radio reported that Abu Rajeb had been accused in the past of collaborating with Israel, including turning in Popular Resistance Committees chief Abu Youssef Koka to Israeli forces. He was also responsible for some arrests of terror suspects in the Gaza Strip.
He has survived an assassination attempt two years ago when gunmen fired on his convoy. At the time, he was seriously wounded and two of his bodyguards were killed.
A Hamas spokesman urged the public not to be hasty in holding his organization responsible for the blast. He said that the results of the investigation must first be learned before conclusions could be drawn, so as not to create unnecessary tensions in the Palestinian territories.
On the other hand, Fatah officials have demanded that Abbas disband the Hamas-led PA and call for new elections, as well as dismantling the new security force that the organization established. If the militia is not removed, “we are ready to deploy our men and our fighters in the streets … to protect Fatah men and all of Palestinian society,” the statement said.
Rival security commanders met earlier Saturday to try to settle a dispute over an armed 3,000-strong force deployed earlier in the week by the Hamas government, participants said.
Hamas agreed to keep its gunmen away from the Palestinian security headquarters to avoid friction with the forces loyal to Abbas, a security official said on condition of anonymity. Hamas officials were not immediately available for comment.
The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Said Siyam of Hamas and Rashid Abu Shabak, the Gaza commander of the security forces loyal to Abbas.
Abu Shabak renewed an offer by Abbas to integrate the Hamas gunmen into the security forces and bring them under his command. Participants did not say how Hamas responded to that offer.