CBNNews.com - Warming relations between rival Palestinian factions plummeted Saturday when Hamas accused Fatah of plotting to assassinate Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh.
Last week, following the death of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar's son Hussam, killed in a gun battle with Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas phoned to express his condolences.
After Abbas's phone call, a group of senior Fatah leaders paid a condolence call to al-Zahar.
The phone call and the visit appeared to signal a softening between the two factions that might pave the way for reconciliation.
But the warming relations fizzled Saturday when Hamas accused Abbas's men of an alleged assassination attempt on Haniyeh, along with plans to blow up Hamas al-Aksa television station.
Former Hamas interior minister Said Siam claimed that Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, personally dispatched a suicide bomber to the mosque in Gaza City where Haniyeh attends Friday prayers.
According to Siam, Fatah promised the would-be suicide bomber that his family would be relocated to Ramallah and their house rebuilt if Hamas destroyed it.
Siam said the bomber prepared the traditional shahid's (martyr) videotape to be aired on the PA's Palestine television.
A senior aide to the PA chairman, Ahmed Abel Rahman, said Hamas' claim of an assassination attempt against Haniyeh reflected the "sick mentality" of Hamas leaders.
"This is the time for national unity," Rahman said. "Hamas does not want unity because they want to retain control over the Gaza Strip," he said.
Source: The Jerusalem Post