Hamas bans Fatah anniversary activities in Gaza by force

By Xinhua

Gaza : Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Monday prevented rival Fatah movement from marking its 43rd anniversary in Gaza Strip by force.

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The supporters of Fatah movement led by moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were prevented from staging any big gathering in the Hamas-run territory after Hamas forces crushed smaller, unplanned gatherings in various parts of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas took over Gaza in June after routing the long-dominant Fatah, which continued to rule the West Bank.

According to Fatah officials, Hamas forces prevented Fatah supporters from raising the movement’s flags and stormed houses with Fatah flags to force the residents to remove the flags from their rooftops. They added that over 10 Fatah activists were also arrested across the Gaza Strip.

In response to Hamas’ ban on the annual Fatah rally, which used to be held at the start of every new year in Gaza, Fatah official sheld a news conference to voice their protest.

“Fatah is against all forms of crackdown, removal and accusations of treason that Hamas spreads and commits against Fatah people in Gaza,” said Ibraheem Abu al-Najja, a representative of Fatah.

He added that Fatah was in no need for more rallies to show its strength in Gaza after the movement held a rally in November on the occasion of the third anniversary of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s death.

Instead, Abu al-Najja called on Fatah supporters to light fire at 19:00 (16:00 GMT) on their rooftops in a move to mark the Fatah anniversary.

Speaking at the conference, Jameel al-Majdalawi, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said his movement completely supports Fatah and rejects Hamas procedures against its members.

He revealed that Hamas told the PFLP that Fatah will be banned from holding its rally as long as pro-Abbas security forces continued crackdown against Hamas members in the West Bank.