Fatah, Hamas trade accusations as reconciliation dialogue goes on

11:04, November 11, 2010      

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Islamic Hamas movement and the Fatah party traded accusations on Wednesday while leaders of the two groups continued their dialogue in Damascus for the second day to reach an inter-reconciliation agreement.

The Fatah party, Hamas' bitter rival, on Wednesday accused the Islamic movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, of banning Fatah supporters in the enclave from marking the sixth anniversary of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death. However, Hamas denied the accusations.

The secular movement also accused Hamas security apparatuses of cracking down on Fatah supporters over the last few days and detaining around 40 activists from Gaza to prevent them from holding the rally. In 2007, around 10 Palestinians killed when Fatah commemorated the third anniversary of Arafat's death.

Following two weeks of street fighting between the two rival groups, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip by force in June 2007 and routed security forces of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Since then, Arab and Egyptian efforts have failed to end the rift between the two groups.

Faisal Abu Shahla, a Gaza-based Fatah lawmaker, told Xinhua that the Palestinian National Corporation, which includes the factions of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had officially applied to Hamas authorities in Gaza for holding a rally to commemorate Arafat's anniversary.

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