Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas arrived on Saturday afternoon in
Gaza to celebrate the Eid Al Adha Muslim feast, Abbas’ office reported.

The visit is considered the first to the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of deadly clashes between Fateh and Hamas gunmen.

Abbas spends most of his time in the Ramallah headquarters, in the northern part of the West Bank.

On Monday, Abbas is expected to attend ceremonies marking the anniversary of his Fateh movement.  Fateh was formed on January 1, 1965.

In December, Fateh and Hamas gunmen engaged in the most violent clashes that killed 17 residents, and increased fears of civil war among the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The clashes ended with a fragile cease-fire last week.

Just before he left Ramallah, president Abbas slammed the decision of Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, not to release Palestinian detainees before the Muslim holiday.

Last week, Olmert and Abbas held a meeting and Olmert agreed to carry a series of “good-will gestures” that includes the easing restrictions imposed in the West Bank, and releasing some Palestinian detainees.

But later on, Israeli officials said that there will be no prisoner release before the Palestinian factions freed the soldier they are holding captive since last June.

Abbas said that the decision of not releasing detainees contradicts Olmert’s vow to release detainees before the feast.

“Unfortunately, no detainees were freed by Israel”. Abbas told reporters, “We hope that Olmert will fulfill his promise after the holiday”.