Hamas Says Deal Reached in Palestinian Reconciliation

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on October 2

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a political reconciliation deal in Cairo on Thursday, Aljazeera TV channel has reported.

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord.

The two Palestinian factions will meet again in the Egyptian capital next. The Palestinian Government, signed in 2011 between Hamas and Fatah, also discussed mechanism to take over all responsibility in Gaza.

Fatah's Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters that he welcomed the agreement.

Also under the deal, Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt will be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks, with a November 1 deadline, according to Ahmad. A senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip, Zakaria al-Agha, said that Abbas "will be in Gaza within less than a month".

The source added that security officials from Ramallah would soon hold a series of meetings in Gaza with their counterparts from Hamas to discuss means of handing over security responsibility for the blockaded coastal enclave. In June 2007, its militants seized power in the Gaza Strip.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. Hamas and Fatah organisations began negotiations on reconciliation last Tuesday through Egypt.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart. Hamas and Israel fought three devastating wars over the past decade.

Sticking points include control over the arsenal of Hamas' armed wing and the fate of thousands of Hamas public servants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Palestinians against "bogus reconciliations", and reiterated Tel Aviv's demand for the disbandment of Hamas's military arm.

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