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Hamas dissolves Gaza administration in Palestinian unity bid

Hamas dissolves Gaza administration in Palestinian unity bid

This comes after Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh landed in Cairo on Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials to end a siege on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hamas said it has accepted key conditions set by President Mahmoud Abbas, and would dissolve what is known as the Gaza administrative committee, a body seen as a parallel government to Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

Palestine's civil discord started in 2007 when Hamas seized power in Gaza while the West Bank territories fell under Fatah's control.

The two sides have made several attempts at reconciliation.

"Hamas invites the consensus government to come to Gaza to practice its mission and carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately, and it accepts holding general elections", it said.

In May 2011, Abbas and former Hamas chief Khaled Mashal signed in Cairo a reconciliation agreement, which included the formation of a unity government that prepares for general elections within six months.

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Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul welcomed Hamas's announcement, but said his party would first like to confirm its veracity.

Mending fences with Western-backed Abbas would be another step in Hamas' diplomatic push to improve relations with its neighbour Egypt, which has kept its frontier with Gaza largely closed and accused the group in the past of aiding Islamist militants in Egypt's Sinai desert, something Hamas denies.

"The Hamas movement is prepared to overcome all of the obstacles together with the Egyptians in order to achieve the Palestinian people's aspirations through the reconciliation and unity".

The unemployment rate now stands at 42 percent in Gaza, infrastructure for water and electricity do not meet its residents' basic needs and half of the population relies on humanitarian aid.

Hamas is also under further pressure from an aggressive policy from Abbas, who governs in the West Bank, and who in June asked Israel to substantially cut its electricity supply to Gaza's 2 million residents. There was no immediate comment from Abbas's government, and a senior Palestinian official was guarded in his optimism.

Dahlan is sponsored by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which both aided his recent re-entry into Palestinian politics through a deal that eased Gaza's chronic electricity crisis and calls for the opening of Egypt's border with Gaza on a permanent basis.


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