Hamas and Fatah sign unity deal

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with Hamas chief Ismail Hani

Hamas: Deal reached with Palestinian rival Fatah

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement Thursday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a "final" accord.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting. Hamas and Fatah agreed to transfer administration of Gaza to Union government at latest until December 1st.

Fatah and Hamas have signed a deal today aimed at bringing the two Palestinian organisations together.

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

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

Two weeks before this, another meeting will be held in Cairo (on November 14) between representatives of all Palestinian factions, the same source said, adding that this meeting would discuss "mechanisms" for implementing the reconciliation agreement.

Also under the deal, Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt will be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks, with a November 1 deadline, according to Ahmad.

Islamist movement Hamas is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

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Over the past decade, each side deepened control over its territory, making it increasingly hard to forge compromises, and repeated attempts at reconciliation failed. A small number of people, mainly medical patients, business people and aid workers, use the Erez crossing to enter Israel, usually bound for the West Bank.

Struggling with the fallout from the border blockade, Hamas has found it increasingly hard to govern or provide basic services, such as electricity.

With Hamas in control, conditions in Gaza deteriorated.

The new deal is understood to cover border crossing arrangements, Hamas' arsenal and the livelihoods of thousands of public servants.

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Ahead of the negotiations in Cairo, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu warned against "fake reconciliations" and stated once again that Israel demands the demilitarization of Hamas. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the territory, severely restricting Palestinians from leaving the territory and goods from entering.

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