Israeli leaders: Hamas must disarm, or reconciliation means nothing

People gather as the convoy of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah arrives to take control of Gaza from Hamas in the northern part of the territory

Further information will be announced at a noon news conference (10GMT) in Cairo, where unity talks between the rival factions began on Tuesday.

The Islamic militant Hamas evicted Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority from Gaza a decade ago, leading to a crippling territorial and political split among Palestinians.

According to a Palestinian source close to the Cairo talks, the agreement calls for the Fatah-led Palestinian unity government to assume full political and administrative control of the Gaza Strip by Dec.1.

"We also extend our thanks and appreciation to President Abbas who had the desire and the real will to end the division and restore the unity of the brotherly Palestinian people", the statement read. Thursday's signing came after two days of negotiations in the Egyptian capital on the governing of the Gaza Strip as part of the most serious effort to date to end the 10 year rift between the rival Palestinian groups.

Egyptian chief of intelligence, Khalid Fawzi, presided over the signing as Hamas' representative, Saleh al-Arouri, and Fatah's negotiator, Azzam al-Ahmed, signed on.

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.

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

In return, Cairo pressed Hamas to move forward on reconciliation with Fatah.

Attempts at reconciliation in recent years fell apart. Egypt has been brokering the reconciliation talks.

Last week, Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah visited Gaza for the first time since 2015 and his ministers took formal control of government departments in the territory.

One of the key sticking points will be the fate of Hamas's 25,000-strong military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

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.

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