Hamas, Fatah agree to talks

Members of the main Palestinian governing Fatah party and Islamist group Hamas have agreed to create a new committee to continue dialogue to defuse growing tensions ahead of elections.

    Hamas and Fatah members have held several meetings lately

    Ismail Haniye, a Hamas leader, said on Friday that both sides had agreed to work towards eliminating tensions and "reinforcing the principle of political partnership based on political pluralism."

    The two groups also agreed on a "timetable for action and a mechanism to deal with these questions," he added.

    The committee is to be open to other Palestinian groups as well.

    No announcement made

    Hamas has yet to say whether it will participate in reruns of recent municipal elections which were partially annulled, and there has been a growing dispute over moves to delay parliamentary polls scheduled for 17 July.

    "We hope to be able to resolve all the problems to be able to hold the [municipal] elections again in manner that will convince all the world."

    Abdullah al-Ifrangi, Fatah member

    Abdallah al-Ifrangi, a member of the central committee of Fatah, the movement of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said "we hope to be able to resolve all the problems to be able to hold the (municipal) elections again in manner that will convince all the world."

    Friday's meeting followed talks on Thursday mediated by Egypt's deputy intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Bouheiri.

    Hamas activist killed 
     
    In other news, a Hamas activist was found dead after an explosion in the northern Gaza Strip overnight, witnesses said early on Saturday.
      
    Baker Hamada, 20, was apparently killed while handling an explosive charge in Beit Lahya, the witnesses said.
      
    Three other people were injured in the blast, they added.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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