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Monday, November 12, 2007

'Palestinian' civil war watch: 6 dead up to 150 injured at terrorist memorial

Fatah held a rally today in Gaza to commemorate the anniversary of the death of terror leader Yasser Arafat from AIDS three years ago. Some 250,000 'Palestinians' attended. At the end of the rally, Hamas 'gunmen' allegedly opened fire on the Fatah crowd. Six or seven (CNN had seven) people were killed and anywhere from 85 (JPost) to 150 (YNet) were wounded. You can watch a video here - hopefully you will have better luck with it than I did. 'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen called it a 'heinous crime.'
Hamas security forces on Monday opened fire at a mass rally commemorating the death of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, violently dispersing close to 250,000 people who had gathered in the largest public display of support for the rival Fatah movement since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.

Six civilians were killed and at least 85 people were wounded, hospitals and witnesses said. Among the critically wounded was a Hamas policeman who was shot in the head.

Monday's rally was Fatah's largest public gathering since Hamas overran the Strip in June, expelling the security forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas has been using the third anniversary of Arafat's death to rally support on the Palestinian streets.

Demostrators carrying pictures of Arafat, yellow Fatah flags and wearing trademark black and white Arab headdresses, gathered in a large court in downtown Gaza City.

Hamas security officials said they fired toward protesters who threw stones at security compounds. Hamas police were positioned on rooftops around Gaza City, and protesters were seen running for cover at street corners.

Smoke was rising around the edges of the rally court yard, but thousands of supporters still milled around, as firing was heard from around the rally.

Eyewitnesses said Hamas gunmen roamed the streets later and started detaining protesters.

Hamas said one of the dead was killed by Fatah gunmen who had fired from rooftops, but that could not be confirmed. A Fatah official said the person, a Fatah supporter, was shot on his way to the rally by a racing car, accusing Hamas of the shooting.

The Fatah official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Hamas said five of its policemen were injured, one seriously, and accused Fatah gunmen.
Haaretz adds:
The moderate Abbas has been harnessing Arafat commemorations, stretched out over three days, to build up support for relaunching peace talks with Israel at a U.S.-hosted Mideast conference later this month.

Hamas, which opposes a peace deal with Israel, says Abbas does not have a mandate to negotiate, and some in the Islamic militant movement have denounced him as a traitor.

However, Hamas has also tried to co-opt former rival Arafat since his Nov. 11, 2004 death, by portraying him as closer to its hardline ideology. "We honor and respect Yasser Arafat because he ... refused to give up the rights of our people in this holy land," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Monday.

On Sunday, Hamas seized a West Bank shipment of thousands of Fatah posters, scarves and baseball caps after it reached Gaza, Fatah officials said. Hamas radio said Monday the items were returned to Fatah.

Large numbers of Hamas police, some in riot gear, took up positions Monday at key intersections, outside government ministries and near parliament. Fatah activists were decorating streets with yellow Fatah flags and Arafat posters. Hamas police didn't intervene, but wrote down license plates of some cars flying Fatah flags.

Hazem Abu Shanab, a Fatah spokesman, said activists were told to avoid confrontations with Hamas forces. He said armed men would not be allowed to take part.

A prelude to the Gaza City rally came late Sunday in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, where about 10,000 Fatah supporters marched. In clashes with Hamas police after the march, two people were wounded, residents said.
London's Daily Mail adds:
Dr Muawiyah Hassanein, head of Gaza's emergency medical services, said six people, all civilians, were killed. He said 80 people, including several Hamas security men, were wounded.
Of course, if either Fatah or Hamas had done the same thing in downtown Jerusalem, they would have handed out candies. But give them a state reichlet and all the world's problems will be solved.


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