Arafat Remembrance Protest Ends in Bloodshed- 6 Dead
What was supposed to be a gathering to remember Yasser Arafat turned bloody…
6 are dead after Hamas opened fire on the massive Fatah gathering.
Zakaria al-Agha, the Fatah chief in Gaza, directly challenged Hamas as he read a statement to the crowd:
“We say to Hamas and these armed militias, stop your crimes. These crimes will not shake our determination.”
But, the courageous words did not stop Hamas from firing on the Fatah supporters.
Palestinian Fatah supporters run for cover during clashes in Gaza November 12, 2007. (Ismail Zaydah/Reuters)
The civil war rages on in Gaza.
6 Fatah supporters were killed by Hamas gunmen at a pro-Arafat protest in Gaza City today.
The AP reported:
Hamas security forces opened fire Monday at a rally by the rival Fatah movement commemorating Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Six people were killed in the bloodiest day of intra-Palestinian fighting since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.
Some 250,000 Fatah supporters joined Monday’s rally in a major square of Gaza City, carrying pictures of Arafat, yellow Fatah flags and wearing trademark black-and-white Arab headdresses. It was the biggest outpouring of support for Fatah since Hamas’ violent takeover of the territory.
The crowd scattered as masked Hamas security men ran through the city streets, firing weapons. Two hours later, hundreds of Hamas gunmen controlled the protest site and were arresting protesters as they tried to flee.
An eyewitness, identifying himself as Abu Samir, said Hamas security men appeared to fire unprovoked. “I saw brutality. I saw gunmen shoot at people. I saw them catch a boy and beat him with a stick,” he said.
At least 85 people were wounded, medical officials said.
The office of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the Fatah government out of the West Bank, denounced Hamas’ actions as a “heinous crime.”
Palestinians carry a wounded Fatah supporter during clashes with Hamas security forces at a rally marking the third anniversary of the death of leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City, Monday. Nov. 12, 2007. Hamas security forces on Monday opened fire at a mass rally commemorating the death of the late Palestinian leader, violently dispersing the largest public display of support for the rival Fatah movement since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June. Five people were killed and at least 31 were wounded, medical officials and Fatah said.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Fatah leaders are calling for revenge for the protest deaths.