Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas sign reconciliation deal in major breakthrough

Hamas had a compromise with conquest

The Western-backed mainstream Fatah party lost control of Gaza to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the West and Israel, in fighting in 2007.

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.

The two Palestinian factions will meet again in the Egyptian capital next.

The Secretary-General also reiterated that the United Nations stands ready to continue working with Palestinian authorities and the region to support the Government in assuming its responsibilities in Gaza.

Fatah's Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters that he welcomed the agreement.

Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed and Hamas' representative Saleh al-Arouri smiled and shook hands in a short ceremony presided over by Egypt's chief of intelligence, Khalid Fawzi.

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The issue of introducing a joint PA, Hamas presence at Gaza's border crossings is key in efforts to encourage Israel and Egypt to lift the economic blockade that is now in place over the strip.

Fatah official said the Palestinian president is planning to visit Gaza Strip within a month as part of the unity bid in what would be his first visit in a decade.

Hamas does not recognise Israel and has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.

Since then, the relations between the two rival factions have been very tense and all attempts to reconcile them over the past years have failed to bring fruit.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Sissi in NY last month, denounced the reconciliation efforts, saying any future Palestinian government must disband the Hamas terror group's armed wing and sever its ties with Iran.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across Gaza on Thursday in celebration of the unity pact, with loudspeakers on open cars blasting national songs, youths dancing and hugging, and many waving Palestine and Egyptian flags.

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