Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

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

Details of the agreement have not yet been released and a news conference was being planned for Thursday at 10:00 GMT in the Egyptian capital, where talks have been taking place since Tuesday.

Hamas and Fatah have reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, Reuters reports citing the Palestinian Information Centre.

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. The Palestinian Government, signed in 2011 between Hamas and Fatah, also discussed mechanism to take over all responsibility in Gaza.

The agreement stipulates that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing, though details of the reconciliation deal have not yet been made public.

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.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas told AFP on Thursday, "I welcome the agreement".

The official was referring to the diplomatic Quartet on Middle East peace, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russian Federation.

Gaza, which sits on the Mediterranean coast and is fenced in by heavily-patrolled barriers on three sides bordering Israel and Egypt, has been a frequent battleground over the past decade, during which Hamas has fought three wars with Israel.

Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed since 2007.

The crossing has remained largely closed in recent years.

But the move was seen as mainly symbolic, with Hamas still effectively in charge in the Palestinian enclave of two million people bordered by Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.

The two sides remain sharply at odds, however, over the future of Hamas's 25,000-strong armed wing, which the terror group says is nonnegotiable.

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

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