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Hamas approves venue for Fatah anniversary events

Dec. 28, 2012 11:13 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 2, 2013 11:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Celebrations in the Gaza Strip to commemorate Fatah's 48th anniversary will go ahead as planned, after Hamas officials approved a venue for the events late Thursday, a Fatah official said.

Fatah had earlier announced it would cancel its anniversary celebrations in Gaza after the Hamas government rejected proposed locations for the event.

However, Atef Abu Yousef, a Fatah official in Gaza, told Ma'an late Thursday that Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh called Fatah official Nabil Shaath to inform him that the Islamist group had agreed to let Fatah use al-Saraya square to hold its anniversary celebrations.

Haniyeh met with Fatah officials on Friday to discuss preparations for the events, offering his congratulations to Fatah for its 48th anniversary, Gaza government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said.

Hamas is keen to hold celebrations worthy of Fatah and its long history of struggle, al-Nunu added.

A delegation from Fatah's central committee and revolutionary council will participate in the celebrations, together with Palestinian nationalist figures from outside Palestine, Abu Yousef said.

Nabil Shaath will hold a press conference in the coming days to announce the date of the events, although celebrations usually take place on January 1.

Around 5,000 Fatah members in Gaza will participate in the celebrations, a senior Fatah official in Gaza said Friday, and security at the events will be tightened to ensure celebrations go to plan.

Fatah, or 'conquest' in Arabic, was founded in 1965 by late President Yasser Arafat and has long been the dominant force in Palestinian politics and a cornerstone in the nationalist struggle.
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