At least 6 dead in clashes at Fatah rally in Gaza
Gunshots fired in Strip at conclusion of rally marking third anniversary of former Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat's death; at least six killed and nearly 150 injured, 10 sustaining serious wounds. Tens of thousands of Fatah members take part in ceremony under watchful eye of Hamas security personnel
Palestinians reported of at least six dead in the clashes. According to reports from Palestinian TV, nine Palestinians were killed and nearly 150 injured, 10 of them sustaining serious wounds.
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.
Injured evacuated (Photo: AFP)
Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters, carrying pictures of Arafat, yellow Fatah flags and wearing trademark black and white Arab headdresses, gathered in a large court in downtown Gaza City in the largest public gathering since Hamas overran the seaside strip in June, expelling the security forces of Fatah's leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The speakers at the rally condemned Hamas' seizue of Gaza and pointed to the massive participation in the rally as a sign that Gazans still support the Fatah-led Palestinian government in the West Bank and that Fatah still holds sway over a large portion of Palestinians in the Strip.
Hamas security forces fanned out around the area of the rally setting up checkpoints and roadblocks. The event's organizers claimed that Hamas was using these checkpoints to stop people from attending the demonstration.
"The amassing of the masses" was the phrased coined by Fatah for the event. The commemoration was jam-packed with people and was one the biggest if not the biggest rally in the history of the Gaza Strip.