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Hamas announces reconciliation deal with Palestinian rival Fatah

Hamas announces reconciliation deal with Palestinian rival Fatah

The leader of Hamas said on Thursday that his group has reached an agreement with the rival Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after Egyptian-brokered talks about the terms of control of the Gaza Strip.

According to Reuters, the details regarding the agreement are expected to be revealed during a press conference this afternoon in Cairo, where the talks between the two rival Palestinian factions took place.

The Western-backed mainstream Fatah party lost control of Gaza to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the West and Israel, in fighting in 2007.

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 said in a statement that details would be announced later in the day in Cairo.

Egypt has helped mediate several attempts to reconcile the two sides in the past and form a power-sharing unity government.

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Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said Tuesday that the talks, which are being held under the auspices of the Egyptian Intelligence Directorate, would focus on enabling the PA to operate in Gaza.

The latest reconciliation efforts come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY last month. Hamas, in turn, has said that it will not disarm, even if it is willing to give Abbas control of the Gaza government.

Abbas has pledged there would be "one authority, one law, one administration, one weapon" in the Gaza Strip, a statement seeming to challenge Hamas' continued security dominance.

Egypt has been keen to improve security in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Gaza and where jihadist rebels have fought a long-running insurgency.

The deal would see Hamas, which has the most powerful armed Palestinian faction with an estimated 25,000 well-equipped fighters who have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.