Hamas and Fatah 'agree deal' for unified Palestinian government

Hamas and Fatah 'agree deal' for unified Palestinian government

Hamas and Fatah 'agree deal' for unified Palestinian government

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

The prime minister said he considered Hamas "responsible for all acts of terrorism originating in Gaza", and called on the Palestinian Authority to prevent terror in the West Bank.

Thursday's signing of the agreement in Cairo was reached after two days of Egyptian-brokered negotiations.

Al-Ahmad, who is also the head of Fatah delegation for the Cairo talks, said what was agreed upon two weeks ago under the auspices of Egypt is empowering the legitimate government to operate in accordance with its powers in accordance with the Basic Law in effect in the West Bank.

Hamas and Fatah agreed in 2014 to form a national reconciliation government, but the deal soon dissipated in mutual recriminations with Hamas continuing to dominate Gaza.

Fatah official said the Palestinian president is planning to visit Gaza Strip within a month as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in a decade.

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah delegation, said Abbas' Palestinian Authority would assume control of the crossing points between Gaza and Israel by November 1.

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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.

Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed since 2007.

With Hamas in control, conditions in Gaza deteriorated. A small number of people, mainly medical patients, business people and aid workers, use the Erez crossing to enter Israel, usually bound for the West Bank.

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Cairo for help, hoping to have the Rafah border with Egypt opened.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across Gaza on Thursday in celebration of the unity pact, with loudspeakers on open cars blasting national songs, youths dancing and hugging, and many waving Palestine and Egyptian flags.

The two sides remain sharply at odds, however, over the future of Hamas's 25,000-strong armed wing, which the terror group says is nonnegotiable.

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