Tens of thousands mark Arafat death anniversary in Gaza

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Fatah supporters wave the party flag as they take part in a rally in Gaza City on Saturday, November 11, 2017, marking the death anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (FP / MAHMUD HAMS)
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Palestinians wave yellow Fatah movement flags during a rally in Gaza City on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, to mark the 13th anniversary of the death of Fatah founder and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Tens of thousands mark Arafat death anniversary in Gaza

GAZA CITY: Tens of thousands of Gaza Palestinians marked the 13th anniversary of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s death on Saturday for the first time since the Islamic Hamas group seized the territory a decade ago.
In the wake of a brewing reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah party Arafat founded, Fatah supporters flocked to Al-Saraya Square in Gaza City from all over the coastal enclave to commemorate the event, waving their yellow flag, raising posters of Arafat and donning his trademark kaffiyeh headgear.
Arafat died in 2004 at a hospital in France after two years of an Israeli siege on his West Bank headquarters. Palestinians accuse Israel of poisoning him but offer no proof, adding to the mystery surrounding the death.
After winning legislative elections in 2006, Hamas forces violently overthrew Fatah in Gaza the following year. The commemoration comes amid improving relationships between Fatah and Hamas, a month after the two rivals signed a deal in Egypt paving the way to end the Palestinian internal divide.
Under the deal, Hamas would cede control of Gaza to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority after a decade of unilateral rule by the Islamic movement.
“The accurate implementation of the deal and the full empowering of the government will surely lead to easing the suffering and reviving hope of a better future for all of us,” President Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor, told the crowd in a prerecorded speech from his West Bank headquarters.
Earlier this month, Hamas transferred control at Gaza’s crossing points with Israel and Egypt to the Fatah-led Palestinians Authority, implementing the first part of the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation. Talks will continue in Cairo in ten days to discuss broader issues.
A sticking point has been the vast arsenal of rockets, attack tunnels and explosives that Hamas and smaller groups in Gaza possess. In his speech, Abbas reiterated his firm stance that he wants “one authority, one law and one legitimate weapon” in Gaza. Hamas vows not to disarm.
In November 2007, months after Hamas took over Gaza following a week of bloody fighting, Fatah organized a rally to mark Arafat’s death, but it ended with clashes between Fatah supporters and armed Hamas forces, in which seven civilians were killed.
Saturday’s event ended peacefully after two hours of speeches and people swaying to patriotic songs blaring from huge loudspeakers.
Not all participants belonged to Fatah. Some of them came because they missed the sort of unity that prevailed during Arafat’s reign. “Arafat is for all the Palestinians,” said Ashraf Hamouda, 34.


‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

Updated 22 October 2018
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‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
“My feelings? Mixed,” he said. “Happy. Really happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day.”
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
“I must have been in his blind spot. I’m not sure he saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me.”
Vettel’s disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent Ferrari’s satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
“I am very proud of them all,” said Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
“I was always proud of the guys and even more when we are winning races. It’s been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today. Thank you USA!“
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had been faster than his team, as he had feared.
“We lacked the pace and I said don’t close it too early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so let’s go to the next race in Mexico now.
“It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that’s what’s more important.”