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Palestinians mark 13th anniversary of Arafat’s death across West Bank

Nov. 10, 2017 4:38 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2017 11:32 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians held rallies on Thursday in the occupied West Bank to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the death late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that thousands of Palestinians joined a rally in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, organized by the Fatah movement and other Palestinian factions, carrying portraits of Arafat, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans celebrating the iconic figure.

Meanwhile in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations by students, Wafa reported.

A large number of troops reportedly surrounded a number of schools in Hebron, preventing students from exiting to participate in demonstrations and firing tear gas canisters at students and homes.

In 2015, at least 70 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces while commemorating the 11th anniversary of Arafat’s death, while last year, clashes broke out with Israeli forces during demonstrations.

Arafat died in France on Nov. 11, 2004, at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request.

His remains were exhumed in November 2012 and samples were taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned -- a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

French judges investigating claims that Arafat was murdered closed the case in September without bringing any charges, saying that evidence did not demonstrate the leader had been poisoned.

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