As rumours of a split between Palestinian factions spread, one of their groups, the Fatah guerrilla organisation, is stepping up its military training.
REUTERS - MARWAN MAKDESI
GV Palestinian truck approaches training site
GV Palestinian trainees throwing grenades (3 shots)
GV Palestinian trainees with small arms and grenades on firing range
SV Palestinian trains with rifle in target practice as colleague fires machine gun (4 shots)
GV Palestinians train in approaching target (2 shots)
GV Palestinian throw grenades at and attack target
Background: As rumours of a split between Palestinian factions spread, one of their groups, the Fatah guerrilla organisation, is stepping up its military training. Volunteers have been practising assault tactics at a site near the Syrian capital, Damascus. The training course, which lasts up to 40 days, concentrates on the storming of enemy positions while under fire. Live ammunition and grenades are used. The Fatah group, led by Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat, say the training is in response to the fear of Israeli attacks on Palestinian positions in southern Lebanon where a tentative cease-fire has kept relative peace since last July. However, recent Saudi Arabian Middle East peace proposals divided Palestinian groups and several attacks on PLO representative have been blamed on breakaway organisations. One of these splinter groups, led by Abu-Nidal, is itself thought to operate in Syria which the Fatah organisation has long used as a base for its military activities against Israel.