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Hamas frees 7 Fatah prisoners, allows members to return to Gaza

Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM
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GAZA, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Hamas officials in Gaza said they freed seven imprisoned Fatah members as part of an effort to repair relations with their West Bank rival.

"The release of these condemned men comes as part of the prime minister's decisions to strengthen national reconciliation," Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan told Middle East Online. "More positive steps will follow."

The men were released Wednesday, two days after Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that Fatah members who fled Gaza when Islamists seized the region would be allowed to return.

Tensions between the two Palestinian groups began during fighting in 2007 that left the Islamist movement in control of Gaza.

The two sides have made many attempts to reconcile, MENA reported.

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