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News Link • Palestine -- Israel

Hamas Just Gave Up Control Of Gaza

•, Shadi Bushra

A unity government is to take control of the Gaza Strip, after a breakthrough in talks between Palestinian factions on Thursday which could strengthen their hand in talks with Israel next month.

The Gaza ceasefire struck in August between Israel and the Palestinians called for the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, to take over civil administration in Gaza from the Islamist Hamas.

Officials from Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement announced the deal on Thursday in Cairo, where they had been meeting under the auspices of Egypt's intelligence services.

Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007 after making sweeping election gains, amid bitter rivalry between the Islamists and Fatah which erupted into violence. The two sides have been deeply divided since.

The factions agreed to the make-up of a national unity government in May but a dispute over the Palestinian Authority's non-payment of salaries to Gaza's public sector workers later brought relations close to breaking point.


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