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Next Eid in ‘liberated’ Jerusalem, Palestine’s Abbas says

NEXT EID IN ‘LIBERATED’ JERUSALEM, PALESTINE’S ABBAS SAYS

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas voiced hope on Friday -- the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday -- that next year's Eid would see the city of Jerusalem "liberated from the Israeli occupation".

In a brief statement to reporters after performing Eid prayers at the presidential office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas extended his wish for a happy holiday to the Arab and Muslim world.

"Eid Mubarak to the Arab and Muslim nations," he declared. "By next year's Eid, we hope to see the liberation of Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem] and the release of our jailed brothers [detained by Israel]."

Shortly afterward, accompanied by senior Palestinian Authority officials, Abbas placed a wreath at the tomb of late Palestinian President and resistance icon Yasser Arafat.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians performed Eid prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque, which the Israeli authorities opened to Palestinian worshipers.

And in the blockaded Gaza Strip, Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, called on rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas to achieve "national reconciliation" based on "Palestinian rights and resistance".

In an Eid sermon delivered in Gaza City's Al-Saraya Square, Bahar asserted: "Reconciliation is a national and humanitarian obligation. We want reconciliation based on inalienable Palestinian rights and on the ongoing resistance project."

Hamas and Fatah have remained bitter rivals since 2007, when the former wrested the Gaza Strip from the latter after several days of bloody street fighting.

In 2014, the rival movements, which currently govern Gaza and the West Bank respectively, agreed in principle to establish a unity government.

The so-called "unity government" later set up in Ramallah, however, has yet to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding political and ideological differences between the two movements.

The four-day Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is considered one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar.

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