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Palestinians Mark Arafat Anniversary


Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a rally marking the 6th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, pictured in the background, in Ramallah, the West Bank, 11 Nov 2010

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a rally marking the 6th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, pictured in the background, in Ramallah, the West Bank, 11 Nov 2010

Thousands of Palestinians have gathered in the West Bank for events marking the 6th anniversary of the death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Some people waved Palestinian flags Thursday as they attended a public commemoration near the site where the former Fatah party leader is buried in Ramallah.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used the occasion to again voice opposition to Israel's resumption of settlement-building in territory Palestinians want as part of a future state. The issue has hindered the restart of direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

In Gaza, however, Palestinian officials say authorities banned commemorations for Mr. Arafat. Gaza is ruled by Hamas, which is opposed to Fatah over the direction of the Palestinians' future.

Mr. Arafat won the Nobel Prize in 1994, along with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli President Shimon Peres, for efforts to create peace in the Middle East. He became ill in 2004 and was flown to a hospital in France, where he died at the age of 75.

Separately, Israeli security forces say they carried out a strike Thursday on suspected militant targets near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. The military says suspected militants had planted explosives in the area earlier in the day and were planning to fire at Israeli soldiers.

The military says no Israeli soldiers were wounded in the incident. Palestinians have reported a number of injuries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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