Agreement on Gaza reached with Fatah, Hamas leader says


Negotiators from rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Islamist group Hamas will discuss security in the Gaza Strip at unity talks in Cairo on Tuesday, including a proposal that would see Fatah security personnel deployed to Hamas-dominated territory.

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

Palestinian sources said conquest and Hamas will organise a press conference on details of agreement at noon.

Since then, attempts to reconcile the two groups and form a Palestinian power-sharing government have stalled.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007 when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.

He added that all Palestinian factions would begin wider negotiations on the formation of a national unity government in the coming two weeks.

Delegates from rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah started reconciliation talks in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday to heal a decade-long rift. Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

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Over the past week, the parties have expressed divergent views about the future of Gaza's security.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

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

Faced with increasing isolation and a severe electricity shortage, Hamas has reached out to Egypt for help, hoping to have the Rafah border opened. The loss damaged Abbas' credibility in the eyes of the West and Israel, after years of being their main Palestinian diplomatic counterpart.

"The sides will discuss the security issue, especially in Gaza, in the way that serves the home front, enforces the rule of law in a professional and national way and is not factional", said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.