Tens of thousands of Palestinians packed a memorial service for the late Yasser Arafat on Sunday, providing a massive show of support for his successor, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as he prepares for peace talks with Israel.
Speaking under a giant mural of a smiling Arafat at the burial site of the longtime Palestinian leader, Abbas repeatedly invoked Arafat's memory to bolster his own leadership. He pledged to lead the Palestinians to independence and took aim at his rivals in the Islamic militant group Hamas.
"Our strategic decision is peace," said Abbas, echoing one of Arafat's favorite slogans.
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