Fatah and Hamas hold coalition talks in Gaza

Representatives of the rival Hamas and Fatah movements today met to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition Palestinian government.

Hamas, which holds a majority in the new Palestinian parliament, has been seeking partners for a broad-based coalition, in part to soften international opposition to the Islamic militant group.

Today’s meeting was the first between Hamas and Fatah, the long-ruling party that was trounced in last month’s election. Officials in Fatah say it is unlikely they will join Hamas in the government.

Abbas last night appointed Hamas politician Ismail Haniyeh to be prime minister, giving him five weeks to form a government.

The talks took place at the home of Hamas politician Mahmoud Zahar. The Fatah delegation included politician Azzam al-Ahmed and Ahmed Hilles, Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip.

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