Hamas dissolves Gaza administration, aiming to build unity government

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar

Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, has not yet commented on the moves by Hamas.

In a statement issued overnight, Hamas said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity".

Palestine's Hamas group has agreed to talks with the rival Fatah movement to form a unity government and hold general elections.

Hamas announced this morning that it is willing to hold discussions with Fatah, close the directorate in Gaza that served as an interim government and carry out general elections.

Recently, there have been frequent reports of meetings and talks between Fatah member and Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan, and Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.

In Sunday's statement, Hamas spoke of the "dissolution" of what is known as the administrative committee, which was seen as a rival government to Abbas's administration.

It added that it had decided to make the announcement in response to Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation and end the internal Palestinian division. But Associated Press reported that it is not yet clear whether Hamas is ready to place its security forces under Abbas's control - a major sticking point in the past.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

Despite Sunday's announcement, any reconciliation deal would still face many obstacles.

The movement, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since it forcibly seized control in 2007, said it is ready to meet again in Cairo with Abbas' Fatah party and other factions on the formation of a unity government.

The coastal enclave of some two million people also has one of the world's highest unemployment rates.

United Nations officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, but Israel says it is necessary to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

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