Hamas, Fatah pen landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo

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Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have reportedly come to a reconciliation deal which will allow the latter to resume control of the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas official told Reuters that details are expected to be released at a noon news conference in Cairo, where unity talks between the rival factions began on Tuesday.

Cairo is now leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based Hamas and the West Bank-based Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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

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Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007.

Sanctions taken by Abbas against Hamas-controlled Gaza will also soon be lifted, the Fatah official said.

He also pointed out that the government will manage the institutions and bodies of all ministries without exception, as well as the full agreement on the management of all crossings, whether with Israel or Egypt, most importantly the Rafah crossing. Abbas has said he would not take over Gaza until Hamas gave up its weapons.

Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed and Hamas' representative Saleh al-Arouri smiled and shook hands in a short ceremony presided over by Egypt's chief of intelligence, Khalid Fawzi.

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Security cooperation between Fatah and Hamas could include, among other things, the deployment of 3,000 Fatah security officers, who would join the Gaza police force over a period of 12 months. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the territory, severely restricting Palestinians from leaving the territory and goods from entering.

There was no indication that an understanding had been reached on the fate of Hamas's armed wing, a sticking point which analysts have said could yet scupper reconciliation efforts.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that any reconciliation deal must make Hamas disarm and "end its war to destroy Israel".

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