Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reach key deal over Gaza

Hamas and Fatah 'reach political reconciliation deal'

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh announced the deal earlier today (October 12)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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

The agreement was signed by Hamas representative Saleh al-Arouri and Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed in a short ceremony today (October 12) following two days of talks brokered by Egypt.

The deal, reportedly concluded at dawn this morning, includes a provision for Gaza to be handed over to a unity government, led by Fatah, by December 1.

Fatah, the more moderate of the two groups, previously controlled Gaza but was ousted by Hamas a decade ago, leaving Palestine split in two.

Since that seizure of power, Hamas - which is considered a terrorist organisation by both Israel and the US - has ruled Gaza while Fatah, led by Palestinian figurehead Mahmoud Abbas, has controlled the West Bank.

However in September Hamas agreed that it would give up its power over Gaza, paving the way for this week's reconciliation talks.

Egypt has previously attempted to help Hamas and Fatah create a united government for Gaza and the West Bank.

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