Palestinians are marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat. Hundreds of people gathered in the main square of the West Bank city of Ramallah to remember the late Palestinian leader.
Tributes have also been paid at his gravestone, inside the Palestinian presidential compound. The Hamas group, which runs the Gaza Strip, banned similar commemorations there. The anniversary of Arafat’s death comes as his successor Mahmoud Abbas says he does not want to run for another term. Abbas, who lost control of Gaza after a battle with Hamas in 2007, has called a presidential ballot for January. Analysts and diplomats are voicing doubt that a vote will happen, though. They also suggest that Abbas’s announcement that he won’t seek reelection could just be a tactic, to bolster US support for his position over peace talks with Israel. Despite the ban on Arafat commemoration rallies in Gaza, Fatah supporters in the coastal strip did hold remembrance ceremonies indoors.