Agreement on Gaza reached with Fatah, Hamas leader says


The leader of Hamas said Thursday his group has reached an agreement with the rival Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after Egyptian-brokered talks about the terms of control of the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement that details would be announced in Cairo later on Thursday.

Forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lost control of Gaza in fighting with Hamas in 2007, leading to a crippling territorial and political split among Palestinians. Abbas oversees autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas and Fatah officials held two days of talks in Cairo this week about a Palestinian Authority return to Gaza.

Hamas announced last month that it was handing over administrative control of the Gaza Strip to a unity government headed by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Hamas's reversal was the most significant step toward Palestinian unity since the government was formed in 2014. It failed to function in Gaza, where Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, because of disputes between Hamas and Fatah over its responsibilities.

Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed since 2007.

Sticking points include control over the arsenal of Hamas' armed wing and the fate of thousands of Hamas public servants.

Since Hamas' overwhelming victory in legislative elections, the Gaza Strip has suffered a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has deprived the enclave's roughly 1.9 million inhabitants of their most basic needs, especially food, fuel, medicine and construction supplies. The Gaza Strip largely depends on foreign aid as the economy has stalled under the Israeli blockade, and apart from small industries, industrialization is almost nonexistent.

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