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Middle east

Palestinians mark 61 years since the 'Naqba'

Latest update : 2009-05-15

Some 500 Palestinians gathered in southern Lebanon to mark the 61st anniversary of the Naqba, or the "catastrophe," a reference to the creation of Israel in 1948, which prompted the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

AFP - Almost 500 Palestinians in south Lebanon on Friday marked the 61st anniversary of the Naqba, the "catastrophe" that sparked an exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees after Israel was created in 1948.
   
The demonstrators raised Palestinian and Lebanese flags along with portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Shiite militant Hezbollah, and burnt an Israeli flag near Fatima's gate in Kfar Kila on the border with Israel.
   
The concrete gate on the Lebanese-Israeli border became a national shrine in 2000 when Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
   
"Our people reject all forms of resettlement," said Khaled Youness of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which organised the demonstration.
   
"No one has the right to give up the right to return."
   
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) estimates between 350,000 and 400,000 Palestinians currently reside in the 12 refugee camps of Lebanon, which has a population of four million.
   
In 2007, the Lebanese army fought an uprising of Arab Islamist militants in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon. The clashes killed nearly 400 people, including at least 222 Islamists and 167 soldiers.
 

Date created : 2009-05-15

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