The unity pact between the PLO-Fatah and Hamas went into force on Monday as the interior ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said it freed six prisoners from rival party Fatah in a gesture.
The move came two weeks after the pact was agreed on by Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, who met again on Monday in the Qatari capital Doha, according to Al Arabiya.
"President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority should provide a positive atmosphere for reconciliation and stop the practices of (his) security services," stated Issa Nashar, an adviser to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, asking Abbas to reciprocate after the announcement, in comments carried by Agence France-Presse.
According to Hamas security sources, the prisoners had been serving sentences for "security offences." Fatah officials say over 40 of their members remain in Gaza jails, while Hamas puts the number at under 20, said AFP.
Hamas says that dozens of its activists are in Palestinian Authority (PA) jails in the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria). The PA is controlled by Fatah.
Israel suspended U.S.-backed peace talks with Abbas in the wake of his deal with Hamas.