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Gaza interior minister attends Fatah celebration for prisoner

Oct. 24, 2011 10:11 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 24, 2011 9:47 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Interior Minister of the Gaza government Fathi Hammad on Sunday evening attended a Fatah-organized celebration in the Gaza Strip to honor a prisoner released in the recent exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Fatah-affiliated detainee Ayman al-Far was freed after spending 21 years in Israeli jails.

Hammad, along with other Hamas security officials, welcomed the Fatah prisoner and congratulated him on his release. The interior minister delivered a speech at the ceremony, which was attended by a large number of senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.

“We still maintain our unchangeable principles, and we want the whole Palestine from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan, which is what we learned from Fatah when that was its demand,” Hammad said.

Hammad also said that the prisoner exchange deal embodied Palestinian national unity and marked a triumph for the Palestinians in security, military and negotiation terms.

Israel last week freed 477 Palestinian prisoners, most of them to the Gaza Strip, in the the first stage of an exchange deal which will see 1,027 Palestinians released for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Palestinian politics has been divided since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after ousting forces loyal to Abbas' Fatah party in 2007.

In 2006, Hamas won parliamentary elections in a shock victory over the Fatah movement, which had dominated Palestinian politics since the 1960s.
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