Hamas, Fatah reach deal on detainees
CAIRO - The rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah agreed yesterday to release each other's loyalists from detention, in an effort to lower tensions during reconciliation talks, officials said.
A deal between the Islamic militants of Hamas who rule Gaza and the more moderate Fatah movement in charge of the West Bank is seen as key to moving ahead with Gaza's reconstruction.
The Palestinians hope to raise $2.8 billion at an international donor's conference in Egypt on Monday. But determining how to send aid to Gaza's people is tricky because much of the international community shuns Hamas.
Hamas and Fatah representatives met in advance of today's main talks on more challenging issues like holding elections and sharing power.
Distrust between the groups runs deep after a three-year power struggle, including a civil war that ended with Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, leaving Fatah in charge of only the West Bank.
Hamas claimed the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ran a Gaza spy ring that fed Israel information about Hamas targets during the offensive that ended Jan. 18. Abbas' Fatah accused Hamas of killing and wounding dozens of Fatah activists under the cover of the war.