Hamas, Fatah to Meet for Palestinian Reconciliation Talks

Hamas announces release of six imprisoned Fatah members in advance of the scheduled talks.

Hamas militants
Hamas militants mark Palestinian Prisoner Day in Gaza City last week. AP

The Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced on Monday that it would release six Fatah prisoners later in the day as a goodwill gesture to pave the road for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian movement, World Bulletin reported.

The announcement came as a Palestine Liberation Organization delegation of five members prepared to travel to Gaza to meet with Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mousa Abu Marzouq later this week.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the delegation, told Ma'an news agency on Monday that he is optimistic that political tensions between Fatah and Hamas will come to an end following the upcoming reconciliation talks.

"We are going to Gaza not to propose new suggestions, but rather to carry out a clear mission which is to end the state of disagreement and address three decisive issues," al-Ahmad said.

The Gaza Interior Ministry expressed its full support for reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian factions.

"There are no political detainees in Gaza prisons," the Interior Ministry said in the statement, adding that the six Fatah prisoners were put in jail for perpetrating actions that harm the enclave's security.

Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized full control of the Gaza Strip following deadly clashes with Fatah in 2007, months after Hamas defeated Fatah in the parliamentary election.

"We are going to address the formation of a national consensus government, elections and restructuring the PLO in order to maintain Palestinian unity so we can dedicate our efforts to confronting Israeli occupation," al-Ahmad said.

The meeting is expected to set a deadline for forming a unity government.