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Palestinian war of words mar Arafat anniversary

Palestinian war of words mar Arafat anniversary
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas laid a wreath at Yasser Arafat’s grave in a ceremony marking ten years since his mysterious death.

But a war of words between Abbas’s Fatah party and rival Hamas marred the anniversary.

Abbas, Arafat’s successor and the head of Fatah, accused his opponent of carrying out a series of bombings targeting Fatah leaders in Gaza last week.

Thousands of Gazans are still homeless after a devestating 50-day war with Israel in July leveled entire neighbourhoods.

“These actions delay rebuilding,” said Abbas. “They delay the moving of one hundred thousand people back into their homes before the winter.”

Hamas hit back, accusing Abbas of “lies, insults and disinformation”.

“The [Abbas] speech was designed to stir tensions,” said Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum. “It’s a partisan and despicable speech that had no good intentions towards Hamas or the people of Gaza.”

A large crowd of Palestinians attended a memorial for their late leader in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Arafat founded the Fatah movement in the 1950s Palestinians believe there would be no division today had he lived.

But today the split is stark, despite efforts to bridge the gap with a spring reconciliation agreement.