Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement said Sunday it is cancelling this week's Gaza ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death due to security concerns.
Gaza-based Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eita told AFP that Hamas said it could not guarantee security at the memorial events scheduled for Tuesday.
“We were informed by the security and political wings of Hamas that they were unable to guarantee the safety of the festival,” he said. “Faced with the danger posed to the public, we were obliged to announce its cancellation.”
The Fatah announcement comes after at least 10 explosions hit houses and cars belonging to senior Fatah members in Gaza on Friday, reportedly without causing any casualties.
Hamas security confirmed in a statement that it had informed Fatah that it was unable to guarantee the event’s security.
Friday’s blasts brought a furious response from Fatah, which placed the blame squarely on Hamas, the de facto rulers in Gaza.
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah, who had been due to visit Gaza on Saturday, promptly cancelled his trip.
One of the explosions targeted a stage in Gaza City set up for a ceremony in honour of veteran Palestinian leader Arafat, who founded Fatah.
This year was the first time in years a public commemoration of Arafat’s death was to have been held in Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007 when it ousted forces loyal to Fatah, sparking a bitter and sometimes bloody feud.
For seven years, Gaza and the West Bank were ruled by separate administrations until the two factions inked a deal in April which led to the formation of a national unity government that took office in June.
Based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the unity government — which is formed of technocrats — has yet to fully take up its functions in Gaza.
Iyad al-Buzum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said security for the memorial could not be guaranteed because of “intra-Palestinians tensions”, as well as “logistic and administrative difficulties” which he blamed on Hamdallah.
He specifically blamed the unity government for failing since its formation to pay the salaries of Gaza security personnel.