Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh and Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed (L) attend a news conference as they announce a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City. Picture: REUTERS
Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh and Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed (L) attend a news conference as they announce a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City. Picture: REUTERS

Gaza City — Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reached agreement on aspects of their reconciliation bid during talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo this week, Hamas said on Thursday.

"An agreement was reached today between Hamas and Fatah under Egyptian sponsorship," a statement from Hamas leader Ismail Haniya’s office said, without giving further details.

Fayez Abu Eita, a Fatah spokesperson and member of the party’s delegation in Cairo, said details would be announced at a media conference later on Thursday.

The two sides had been meeting in the Egyptian capital since Tuesday, with the aim of ending a crippling, decade-old split between the rival factions.

A party to the negotiations, who asked not to be identified, said the agreement would result in forces of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah, taking control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

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

Hamas seized Gaza from Fatah in a near civil war in 2007 and the two factions have been at loggerheads ever since. Multiple previous reconciliation talks have failed.

Egypt has been keen to improve security in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Gaza and where jihadist rebels have fought a long-running insurgency.

In September, Hamas agreed to cede civil power in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority but the fate of its vast military wing remains a significant issue for the two sides.

An Egyptian source close to the talks said intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi had followed the talks closely.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU. It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has faced deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

AFP

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