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12 October 2017, 10:51 | Opal Carroll
Hamas announces reconciliation deal with Palestinian rival Fatah
Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have reached a deal over political reconciliation.
Last month, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, but the fate of its vast military wing remains a significant issue for the two sides.
"Ismail Haniyeh [Hamas chief] has just announced that an agreement was reached dawn on Thursday between Fatah and Hamas movements under Egyptian auspices", Taher al-Nunu, Haniyeh's media advisor said in a press statement released early Thursday morning.
Egypt has helped mediate several attempts to reconcile the two sides in the past and form a power-sharing unity government.
A Palestinian man and his daughter walk past a graffiti reading in Arabic "Division" in Gaza City, on September 17, 2017, after Hamas announced it had agreed to steps toward resolving a decade-long split with the Fatah movement and was ready to hold elections. "We make every effort possible to implement it to start a new chapter in the history of our people", Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Reuters.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said on Sunday the Egypt-backed reconciliation talks between the PA and Hamas are "preparation" for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Security cooperation between Fatah and Hamas could include, among other things, the deployment of 3,000 Fatah security officers, who would join the Gaza police force over a period of 12 months. The loss damaged Abbas' credibility in the eyes of the West and Israel, after years of being their main Palestinian diplomatic counterpart.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah then made a rare trip to Gaza.
It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has faced deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for worldwide efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Delegations from the two rivals have been in talks in Cairo this week to work out the details of the administrative handover, including security in Gaza and at border crossings.
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