Palestinian security forces march in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 1, 2013
Palestinian security forces march in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 1, 2013 as they mark the 48th anniversary of the formation of the Fatah movement. © Hazem Bader - AFP
Palestinian security forces march in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 1, 2013
AFP
Last updated: January 1, 2013

Fatah marks anniversary in Gaza for first time since 2007

The Gaza branch of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party has started celebrations of its 48th anniversary in the Hamas-ruled territory, a local leader said on Tuesday.

"Yesterday we lit the light starting the anniversary of the revolution," Atef Abu Seif told AFP.

Several thousand supporters gathered on Monday night at the Saraya complex in Gaza City, holding pictures of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Abbas and waving Fatah flags as fireworks went off, an AFP correspondent said.

Similar events took place throughout the entire Gaza Strip.

The main event will take place on Friday at the Saraya, the former Fatah security headquarters, and will be attended by senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, who will travel from the West Bank on Tuesday.

The last time that Fatah, which governs the West Bank, held celebrations in the Gaza Strip to mark its foundation was in 2007.

Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

Under Egyptian mediation, the two groups reached a unity agreement in April 2011, although it has so far not been implemented.

On Friday, Fatah announced it had reached an accord with Hamas, enabling it to mark its anniversary in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The anniversary commemorates the first operation against Israel claimed by its armed wing then known as Al-Assifa (The Thunderstorm in Arabic) on January 1, 1965.

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