Hamas, Fatah sign reconciliation deal in Cairo

People gather as the convoy of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas in the northern part of the territory

Hamas: Deal reached with Palestinian rival Fatah

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on Thursday, "I welcome the agreement".

Fatah, the more moderate of the two groups, previously controlled Gaza but was ousted by Hamas a decade ago, leaving Palestine split in two.

According to the text of the agreement signed by both parties, Egypt mediated the deal in order to "achieve Palestinian unity in order to. establish an independent Palestinian state" in Gaza and the Israel-occupied West Bank.

Fatah officials said the two sides agreed that the Palestinian Authority would take over responsibility for Gaza's border crossings no later than November 1 and that full governing responsibilities would be handed over to the Palestinian Authority by the beginning of December.

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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.

It was signed in Cairo by new Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Aruri and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation for the talks, at the headquarters of Egypt's intelligence service, which oversaw the negotiations.

He went on to say that Abbas planned to reverse all measures he had recently taken against the Gaza Strip, which since mid-2007 has been governed by Hamas. Hamas and Israel fought three devastating wars over the past decade.

The official was referring to the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russian Federation.

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In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah.

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit. "Unity and national reconciliation among the Palestinian people are our strategic option for moving forward".

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

The publicly-released parts of the agreement did not specify what would happen to Hamas' armed wing.

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Ahead of the negotiations in Cairo, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu warned against "fake reconciliations" and stated once again that Israel demands the demilitarization of Hamas.

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