Several thousand people joined a rally of the ruling Fatah movement on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Leaders of all major Palestinian factions, including Hamas, sat on a stage at the ceremony under a big picture of Arafat. Another large portrait showed Arafat alongside the current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas
. Members of the audience chanted Arafat's name and sung Fatah songs.
"We are going to continue in the struggle until we achieve the Palestinian state," said Abdullah Franji, the top Fatah official in Gaza
. "We will remain loyal to the path of Yasser Arafat and Yasser Arafat's struggle and to Yasser Arafat's legacy to national unity."
Arafat, who led the Palestinians for 40 years, died on November 11, 2004, in a French hospital. The cause of death remains unclear. A larger memorial ceremony is scheduled Saturday.