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The New Arab

Hamas to hand over control of Rafah border crossing to Palestinian Authority

Forces from the presidential guard are expected to assume control of the Rafah crossing [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 September, 2017

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Palestinian presidential guard forces are expected to assume control of the Rafah border crossing, a source close to the PA told The New Arab on Wednesday.
Leaders of the Palestinian presidential guard began arrangements to deploy forces across the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to assume responsibilities, including control over border crossings, a source close to the Fatah's Palestinian Authority (PA) told The New Arab on Wednesday.

Forces from the presidential guard are expected to assume control of the Rafah border crossing, the source added. 

A separate source close to Hamas told The New Arab that Islamist group will work closely with Fatah to allow a reconciliation government to carry out duties effectively in the Gaza Strip.

The move follows concessions by Hamas after discussions with Egypt, which has urged it to take steps towards reconciliation with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank.

A delegation of ministers and security officials, lead by Palestinian Minister Rami Hamdallah, is expected to convene a cabinet session in Gaza next week for the first time in three years.

PA officials will travel to the enclave next Monday and hold their weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, as part of a fresh push to end a decade-long split between Fatah and Hamas.

"Prime minister Rami Hamdallah has decided after consulting with president Mahmud Abbas that the government will hold its weekly meeting in Gaza next week," government spokesman Yusuf Al Mahmoud said in a statement published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Fatah and Hamas have been divided for more than a decade, with separate administrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas said a week ago that it had agreed to steps towards resolving the split with Abbas's Fatah, announcing it would dissolve a body seen as a rival government - known as the administrative committee - and was ready to hold elections.

Previous attempts to resolve the split have repeatedly failed. The last attempt at forging a unity government fell apart in 2015, with the two sides exchanging blame.

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