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Gaza rally signals Fatah ,Hamas reconciliation on cards Last Updated : 05 Jan 2013 12:25:45 PM IST Gaza rally signals Fatah ,Hamas reconciliation
Supporters of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party on Friday held a huge rally in Gaza indicating possible reconciliation between the parties after their bitter five-year rift.
The event came at the end of a week of festivities in Gaza celebrating 48 years since Fatah took up arms.
"Soon we will regain our unity," President Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised address to hundreds of thousands of followers marching in Gaza yesterday, with yellow Fatah flags instead of the green of Hamas.
Demonstrators waved Palestinian and Fatah flags, and carried pictures of Abbas at the rally which was organised with the blessing of Hamas as part of reconciliation efforts.
"Victory is near and we will meet you in Gaza in the near future," Abbas said in a short speech from his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, beamed to the Gaza crowd at the Saraya complex on giant screens.
"Gaza was the first Palestinian territory rid of (Israeli) occupation and settlement and we want a lifting of the blockade so that it can be free and linked to the rest of the nation," Abbas said in his speech.
Hamas, in a sign of reconciliation with Fatah, permitted the rally to go ahead as the climax of a week of Gaza festivities celebrating the 48th anniversary of the latter's taking up of arms against Israel.
The anniversary commemorates the first operation against Israel claimed by Fatah's armed wing, then known as Al-Assifa (The Thunderstorm in Arabic), on January 1, 1965.
Demonstrators, many of them women and children, waved Palestinian and Fatah flags and carried pictures of Abbas, This crowd is a vote in favour of (Abbas's) Palestinian Authority and shows that Fatah is still out in front," local
Fatah leader Selim al-Zaraei told .
Hamas congratulated Fatah on the anniversary, saying it considered it a "celebration of national unity and a success for Hamas as well as Fatah".
Hamas and Fatah had been at loggerheads since the Islamistmovement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.
But under Egyptian mediation, the two groups reached aunity agreement in April 2011, although its main provisions have so far not been implemented.
A freak tragedy, however, marred the celebrations when a young man was killed and seven others injured after they were electrocuted while trying to fasten a Fatah banner to an electricity pylon, medical sources said.
Abbas's address was to be followed by speeches by Fatah and Hamas officials which, however, had to be scrapped after the crowd became rowdy, Fatah gaza spokesman Fayez Abou Eita told
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