It is proposed that the gamma–ray photons that characterize the prompt emission of Gamma–Ray Bursts are produced through the Compton drag process, caused by the interaction of a relativistic fireball with a very dense soft photon bath. If gamma–ray bursts are indeed associated with Supernovae, then the exploding star can provide enough soft photons for radiative drag to be effective. This model accounts for the basic properties of gamma–ray bursts, i.e. the overall energetics, the peak frequency of the spectrum and the fast variability, with an efficiency which can exceed 50%. In this scenario there is no need for particle acceleration in relativistic collisionless shocks. Furthermore, though Poynting flux may be important in accelerating the outflow, no magnetic field is required in the gamma–ray production. The drag also naturally limits the relativistic expansion of the fireball to Γ ∼ < 10 4
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