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Hamas: Fatah can celebrate anniversary in Gaza

Dec. 17, 2012 6:52 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 11:21 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior has agreed to allow Fatah to celebrate its 48th anniversary in Gaza, a ministry spokesman said Monday.

Islam Shahwan said government authorities would contact Fatah members to coordinate arrangements for the festival, adding that Hamas would permit the celebrations "to promote the atmosphere of unity."

Earlier, Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Aita said Hamas had refused a request to hold the anniversary festival in Gaza City's al-Katiba Square.

"Al-Katiba square is the only square in Gaza suitable for a big event with a large number of people, and it's the main square for national celebrations," Abu Aita said, noting that Hamas and Islamic Jihad held rallies there.

Abu Aita said the refusal was particularly disappointing given the recent positive atmosphere toward reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas held anniversary rallies in cities across the West Bank last week for the first time since 2007.

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