Dozens of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to celebrate the death of former prime minister Ariel Sharon.
The Palestinians handed out candy to drivers, shopkeepers and passersby, while others set fire to portraits of Sharon, the Palestinian news agency Safa reported.
The agency said that the celebration took place in the town of Bani Suhaila east of Khan Yunis.
Dozens of residents gathered in the center of the town, chanting “Allahu akbar” as women ululated in joy over Sharon’s death, the agency said.
“Participants said they consider the death of Sharon as the beginning of the demise of the Israeli entity, paving the way for liberation,” the report said.
Fadi Abu Shab, a Palestinian who took part in the celebration, said “today we handed out sweets over the death of the criminal Sharon, the killer of children, women, young people and the elderly. His death is a message to the rest of the Israeli murderers that they will soon face a similar fate.”
Another Palestinian, Musab al Braim, also expressed joy over Sharon’s death. “This is the preface for the demise of the Israeli entity,” he declared. “It’s the right of all Palestinians to express joy over the death of this murderer.”
Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon also took to the streets to express their joy, with many firing into the air and chanting slogans denouncing Sharon as a war criminal.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri wrote on his Facebook account that Sharon’s death is a “divine prodigy and a lesson to all tyrants like him.”
The Palestinians, he added, “today live historic moments with the death of this criminal whose hands were stained with the blood of their sons and leaders.”
In Ramallah, Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub told AFP “Sharon perpetrated crimes against the Palestinians. He was responsible for killing Yasser Arafat.”
Rajoub said he had hoped that Sharon would be brought to trial before an international court for his “crimes against the Palestinian people and their leaders.”