Fatah cancels Arafat memorials after bombings, blames Hamas

Fayez Abu Eitta, left,  a Fatah leader in Gaza, speaks on the phone as he inspects the damage to his car.

Story highlights

  • Fatah scraps events commemorating Yasser Arafat's death in 2004
  • The group blames Hamas for bombing the homes of Fatah leaders
  • The rising tensions come only months after the groups agreed to form unity government
Fatah, the Palestinian political party, said Sunday it will scrap a series of events to commemorate the death 10 years ago of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The decision comes two days after a series of bombings at the homes of Fatah leaders and highlights rising tensions between the rival political factions, despite their April agreement on a unity government.
In a statement Sunday announcing the decision to call off the Arafat events -- which were set to begin this week -- Fatah official Izam al-Ahmad cited bomb attacks which he blamed on Hamas.
A number of explosions rocked homes owned by Fatah figures on Friday, according to the Palestinian Authority. No injuries were reported.
The explosions took place as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was preparing to visit Gaza. The trip has been postponed indefinitely, the Palestinian Authority said.
Hamas denounced the attacks, according to the Facebook page of spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
But the Fatah spokesman nevertheless accused Hamas of "cheap lies" and said that Fatah officials had "expected a united government to cater to the interests of our nation."
In April, Hamas and Fatah announced an agreement to form a unity government, a development that Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti hailed as the "end to the division between the Palestinian people."
The comity was not long-lasting, however.
In September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blasted Hamas, claiming it was running a "shadow government" in Gaza and rendering the unity government "helpless."
It also follows the conflict between Hamas and Israel in July and August, in which more than 2,100 Palestinians died.
And the enmity isn't just one-way: Hamas-hired government workers in Gaza have accused the Palestinian Authority -- in which Fatah is a dominant player -- of failing to pay them.