Seven killed, 150 wounded in Gaza clashes

Updated: 2007-11-12 23:16

GAZA -- Seven Palestinians were killed and about 150 others wounded on Monday afternoon when clashes between Fatah supporters and Hamas police forces erupted at a Fatah-initiated rally commemorating late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in western Gaza City, medics said.

The sources at Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City said that seven people were killed and about 150 were wounded at the end of the rally.

The clashes erupted as tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in western Gaza City commemorate the third anniversary of Arafat's death.

Ahmed Helles, a senior Fatah movement leader in Gaza, estimated that around half a million Palestinians from all-over the Gaza Strip participated in the rally called "Faithfulness to late leader Yasser Arafat."

Fatah and Hamas traded accusations for triggering the violence at the end of the rally.

Helles said that Hamas militia opened fire at the participants in the rally "because they didn't like the scene of such a large number of Fatah supporters participating in the rally."

However, deposed Hamas ministry of interior said in a statement that Fatah gunmen opened fire first at interior ministry police and sparked the deadly gunfire.

The statement said that dozens of Fatah militants were in the rally and some of them opened fire at police from the roofs of several buildings where they stationed.

Waving Palestinian flags, Fatah's symbolic yellow flags, and posters of Arafat, tens of thousands Palestinians gathered at al-Katiba square in western Gaza City to commemorate late Arafat, who was also the founder of Fatah movement.

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