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Cablegate: Gaza: Nine Killed in Fatah-Hamas Clashes; Abbas

VZCZCXRO4896
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2364 3171520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131520Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9656
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002364

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KWBG PTER IS PREL
SUBJECT: GAZA: NINE KILLED IN FATAH-HAMAS CLASHES; ABBAS
DECLARES 3 DAYS OF MOURNING

1. (SBU) Summary. Nine Fatah members were killed and at
least 60 were injured on November 12 after Hamas police
opened fire on a Gaza City commemoration of Yasser Arafat's
death that drew 200,000 Palestinians. Fatah leaders report
that Hamas police stationed on rooftops opened fire on the
crowd, while Hamas media outlets said the clashes erupted
when Fatah activists threw stones at Hamas police and Fatah
gunmen fired at rooftop Hamas policemen from al-Azhar
University. President Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) declared a
three-day mourning period, and Fatah leaders organized
anti-Hamas protests throughout the West Bank November 12-13.
End summary.

Hamas Police Kill 9 at Fatah Rally
to Commemorate Yasser Arafat's Death
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Fatah contacts and Gaza hospitals report nine Fatah
members were killed, at least 60 were injured, and dozens
were arrested after Hamas police fired on a November 12 Gaza
City rally attended by 200,000 Palestinians to commemorate
the third anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death. Fatah
contacts say the rally proceeded at al-Khatiba Square without
incident, even as organizer Ahmad Hillis and Fatah Central
Committee (FCC) member Zakariya al-Agha lashed out at "Hamas
mutineers' oppression in the Gaza Strip" and said Fatah will
continue to lead Palestinians to their destiny. However,
Fatah leaders report that Hamas police opened fire from
rooftops as the speeches concluded and tried to disperse
marchers with clubs.

3. (SBU) Hamas media outlets said the clashes erupted when
Fatah activists threw stones at Hamas police and Fatah gunmen
opened fire from the grounds of al-Azhar University at
rooftop Hamas policemen, injuring 4 of them. Hamas spokesman
Islam Shahwan told local press that Hamas approved the rally
in advance, but alleged that "Fatah gunmen shot at Hamas
police on direct orders from Mukhabarat chief Tawfiq Tirawi."

Abbas Declares Mourning Period
------------------------------

4. (SBU) President Abbas declared a three-day mourning
period starting November 13. The FCC issued a statement
November 12 calling for a general strike and protests against
Hamas. Fatah leaders held large rallies in West Bank cities
November 12-13.
WALLES

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