Gazans celebrate Brotherhood victory in Egypt

The Gaza Strip erupted in celebratory gunfire on Sunday with news that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate won the presidency in neighboring Egypt, but one person was killed.

Tens of thousands of joyous Palestinians took to the streets across the territory after Egypt announced that Mohammed Morsi won last weekend's runoff election, the first time an Islamist has won that nation's highest office.

Gunmen fired automatic weapons in the air, while mosque loudspeakers rang with prayer. Some revelers handed out candy on street corners. Others waved Egyptian flags and blasted the country's national anthem from car speakers.

A Gaza health official said that one person was killed and six others wounded by celebratory gunfire.

Gaza is ruled by the militant Islamic Hamas, a local offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, collaborated with Israel in a blockade of Gaza they said was necessary to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas.

Now Gaza residents say they are optimistic that the new Egyptian leader will improve relations with the impoverished Palestinian territory.

"Today is new era for us in Gaza. The days of suffering due to the Egyptian authorities are over," said Rawhi Talab, 51, a food store owner. "It's a day of joy ... I voice my hope that Egypt will work to improve our life here," he said.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh phoned Morsi to congratulate him on becoming Egypt's first Islamist president. "This is a victory for all Arabs and Muslims, and this is God's promise to his believers," the Hamas leader said to the newly elected president.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum and other Hamas leaders followed developments closely on TV and went ecstatic when the announcement came that the Brotherhood won. "This is a victory for Egypt and the revolution and the Arab people," Barhoum said.

Gaza resident Alam Mansour handed out candy to revelers. "Today is a festival for Gaza," the 25-year-old engineering student said. "I am sure that the president of Egypt will lead the Islamic nation to great prosperity, and he will help us here in Gaza," he said.

Hamas plans a rally Sunday evening in support of Morsi.

Gaza has a 15-kilometer (9-mile) border with Egypt's Sinai desert and one official border crossing between the two.