Fatah Holds Massive Rally Amid Palestinian Factional Crisis

Fatah held a massive rally in Gaza today after weeks of factional fighting that has killed at least 30 Palestinians.
A Father and masked son head to a Fatah rally in Gaza.

A Palestinian man carries a masked boy before a Fatah rally in Gaza January 7, 2007. Tens of thousands of supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah rallied in Gaza on Sunday in a show of force to the governing Hamas movement in the Islamists’ stronghold. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

Yesterday, Fatah leader and President Mahmud Abbas declared Hamas security forces illegal. In response Hamas said they would double their forces to 12,000 men. Three Palestinians were killed in battles between the two factions later that day.

Palestinian Fatah militants, loyal to their president Mahmud Abbas, participate in a rally in Gaza City to celebrate 42 years since the party’s founding. Supporters ofthe Fatah movement staged a massive show of force in Gaza amid a persistent standoff with the ruling Hamas Islamists that threatened renewed violence. (Yahoo)

The Fatah rally today was the largest of its kind in years.
The BBC reports:

The event, the largest of its kind for years, came at a time of extreme tension between Fatah and its rival, the Hamas movement.

About 30 people have been killed in clashes over the past month.

Many thousands of Fatah’s followers filled Gaza City’s main stadium, and gave a hero’s welcome to Fatah’s strongman in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan.

He focused his anger on an armed Hamas unit called the “executive force”.

In a particularly violent episode a few days ago, it stormed the home of a very senior Fatah security man and killed him and his bodyguards.

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