AP wire

Tens of thousands mark Arafat anniversary in Gaza

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza are marking the 13th anniversary of the death of Fatah's founder and the Palestinian Authority leader for the first time since Hamas took over the territory.

Yasser Arafat died in 2004 at a hospital in France after two years of Israeli siege on his West Bank headquarters. Palestinians accuse Israel of poisoning him but offer no proof, adding to the mystery of the death.

The rally Saturday in an open park in Gaza City drew in people from all over the coastal enclave, waving flags, raising posters of Arafat and donning his landmark kaffiyeh. A smaller rally was held Thursday.

The commemoration comes amid improving relationships between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Fatah; a month after the two rivals signed a reconciliation deal in Egypt paving the way for ending Palestinian schism.

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