Hamas, Fatah sign reconciliation accord
Gaza/cairo: Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal on Thursday after Hamas agreed to hand over administrative control of Gaza, including the key Rafah border crossing, a decade after seizing the enclave in a civil war. The deal brokered by Egypt bridges a bitter gulf between the Westernbacked mainstream Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, an Islamist movement designated as a terrorist group by Western countries and Israel. Palestinian unity could also bolster Abbas’s hand in any revival of talks on a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Internal Palestinian strife has been a major obstacle to peacemaking, with Hamas having fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and continuing to call for its destruction. REUTERS