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Hamas denies reports that it was invited to Fatah conference

Nov. 21, 2016 8:42 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2016 9:40 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Hamas movement denied reports that it had been invited to attend the Fatah party’s seventh congress later this month, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasim told Ma’an on Monday.

Qasim said that Hamas would not take part in Fatah’s internal conflicts, and called on the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to unite itself and focus on the national struggle against Israeli occupation.

Fatah spokesman Mahmoud al-Hija, had previously said in a statement that Fatah had invited all Palestinian factions to attend the conference, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Meanwhile, dozens of Gaza-based leaders of Fatah left the besieged coastal enclave en route to the West Bank on Monday morning to attend in the movement's seventh congress, which will be held in Ramallah on Nov. 29.

A spokesman for the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, Fayiz Abu Aita, told Ma'an that 50 out of 350 Gaza-based participants in the conference had left on Monday via the Erez crossing.

The relationship between Hamas and Fatah has been in a dire state after a government of national consensus was dissolved in June 2015, one year after it was first announced.

The two Palestinian parties have had particularly tense relations since Hamas won legislative elections in 2006 and became the ruling party in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, municipal elections set to be held in September were postponed following a controversial decision by the Fatah-run Supreme Court in Ramallah. They were to be the first elections in the Gaza Strip in a decade.

Meanwhile, Fatah has witnessed growing internal dissent, with the party discharging a number of officials from their functions in past months.
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