Hamas, Fatah reach agreement in Palestinian reconciliation talks

People gather as the convoy of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas in the northern part of the territory

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord. If this deal succeeds, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza will be reunited under one leadership for the first time since the Islamist militant group Hamas wrested control of the territory 10 years ago.

Last month, 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.

According to Reuters, the details regarding the agreement are expected to be revealed during a press conference this afternoon in Cairo, where the talks between the two rival Palestinian factions took place.

In 2014 a deal was struck, however Hamas reneged on the agreement and continued to rule over Gaza.

"We also extend our thanks and appreciation to President Abbas who had the desire and the real will to end the division and restore the unity of the brotherly Palestinian people", the statement read.

According to a readout of a telephone call issued by a United Nations spokesperson, Mr. Guterres said he was encouraged by the recent progress in allowing the Palestinian Government to take up its responsibilities in Gaza and welcomed Egypt's efforts to achieve this goal.

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The source added that security officials from Ramallah would soon hold a series of meetings in Gaza with their counterparts from Hamas to discuss means of handing over security responsibility for the blockaded coastal enclave.

In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah. Hamas and Israel fought three devastating wars over the past decade.

Previous attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and many analysts are treating the latest bid with caution, waiting to see if actual change will occur on the ground. Egypt has been brokering the reconciliation talks.

"Israel will examine developments in the field and act accordingly", said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

The U.S. says it wants the Palestinian Authority to take control of Gaza again.

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