Fatah, Hamas to discuss security in Gaza under unity deal

Fatah, Hamas to discuss security in Gaza under unity deal

Fatah, Hamas to discuss security in Gaza under unity deal

Hamas and Fatah have reached a deal over political reconciliation, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday without providing further details.

A Hamas official told Reuters that details are expected to be released at a news conference in Cairo.

A landslide victory for Hamas in 2006 sparked clashes between the two groups, leading to the dissolution of a tenuous coalition government.

Struggling with the fallout from an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade since 2007, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services to Gaza's 2 million residents.

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One person associated with the negotiations told news agency AFP that Thursday's agreement would see the PA take control of some border crossings between Gaza and Egypt.

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

Cairo is now leading efforts to heal a political split between Gaza-based Hamas group and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.

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. Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

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"The talks are positive and the Egyptian side is even-handed", he said, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.

In return, Cairo had pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with rival Fatah, prompting the two sides to launch into the negotiations.

Under the deal, 3,000 Fatah security officers will join the Gaza police force.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers officially took control of government departments in the territory.

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Reconciliation could also pose a dilemma for global efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal since Hamas has not recognised Israel, unlike the Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organisation.

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