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Fatah: Reconciliation on hold until September

Aug. 22, 2011 7:04 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2011 2:53 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Fatah and Hamas have agreed to delay efforts to implement the reconciliation agreement until September, Fatah official in Gaza Diab Al-Loh said.

Reconciliation committees will resume work after Eid-Al-Fitr, the three-day festival after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the end of August, the Fatah official said in a statement.

Al-Loh said the hiatus was due to the escalation in aggression on the Gaza Strip, which has come under heavy fire from Israeli war planes since Thursday.

Hamas and Fatah signed a surprise unity deal in early May, saying they would jointly appoint an interim government of independents to prepare for general elections within a year.

The parties had been at loggerheads for years but their rivalry turned bloody in 2007, when the Islamists forced Fatah out of the Gaza Strip.

But efforts to implement the deal have so far led nowhere, with each side blaming the other for an impasse caused by a disagreement over who will be interim prime minister.
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