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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Gaza rallies ahead of Fatah anniversary

Gaza rallies ahead of Fatah anniversary
Published today (updated) 03/01/2013 21:53
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=553309

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Palestinian supporters of Fatah started massing in the
main squares in the Gaza Strip ahead of an official anniversary festival for
the party on Friday.

A Ma'an correspondent said traffic was at a standstill around Saraya square
in Gaza City on Thursday night, where flag-waving crowds gathered to
celebrate Fatah's 48th year.

Supporters carried Fatah banners and chanted slogans of the party, in the
first mass rally since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

Similar marches took places in cities across the Gaza Strip on Thursday
evening, witnesses told Ma'an.

Earlier Thursday, Fatah founder Abdul Aziz Shaheen, known as Abu Ali,
entered Gaza for the first time in more than five years, accompanied by
Fatah Central Committee member and former PA security chief Jibril
Al-Rajoub, as well as Osama Al-Qawasmi, the spokesman of Fatah in the West
Bank.

Friday's festival in Saraya square will feature cultural performances and a
recorded speech by President Mahmoud Abbas.

It will be the first time that Hamas has allowed Fatah to hold such events
since it took power in a violent confrontation that began over five years of
bitterly divided governments.

Fatah also permitted a Hamas anniversary rally in the West Bank earlier this
month for the first time, raising hopes of improving relations between the
rival factions.

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