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Hamas: Deal reached with Palestinian rival Fatah

Leader reports agreement has been reached with Fatah to end 10-year political schism.

Ismail Haneiya (R) Khalid Fawzi

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

Further information will be announced at a noon news conference (10GMT) in Cairo, where unity talks between the rival factions began on Tuesday.

"Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement at dawn today upon a generous Egyptian sponsorship," Haniyeh said in a statement.

The Western-backed mainstream Fatah party lost control of Gaza to Hamas in fighting in 2007. But last month Hamas agreed to cede powers in Gaza to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-backed government in a deal mediated by Egypt.

The meetings in Cairo are centred on implementing the 2011 Cairo Agreement between the two political parties, in hopes of ending the 10-year political schism.

The 2011 agreement stipulated that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing. The deal would see both Hamas and Fatah form a Palestinian government to appoint the prime minister and ministerial positions.

Over the last few months, Hamas has been under heavy pressure from PA President Mahmoud Abbas' measures against Gaza, aimed at pressuring Hamas to relinquish control of the territory. Punitive measures included cutting the salaries of PA employees living in Gaza and requesting Israel to reduce the electricity supply to the territory.

The deal could temporarily ease Gaza's dire humanitarian situation.


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