Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat in a 1974 photo. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have marked the 13th anniversary of the death of Fatah's founder and Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat for the first time since Hamas took over the territory.

Arafat died in 2004 at a hospital in France after two years of Israeli siege on his West Bank headquarters. Palestinians have accused Israel of poisoning him but offer no proof, adding to the ongoing mystery over his death.

The rally Saturday (11 November) in an open park in Gaza City drew in people from all over the coastal enclave, waving flags, raising posters bearing pictures of Arafat and donning his landmark kaffiyeh (cotton scarf worn as a headdress). A smaller rally was held two days earlier on Thursday.

The commemoration comes amid improving relationships between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Fatah. One month ago the two long-time rivals signed a reconciliation deal in Egypt, paving the way for ending Palestinian schism.