A top Egyptian security delegation arrived in Gaza on Sunday to follow up on the implementation of a stumbling reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, the website of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
According to the report, the Egyptian delegation is headed by Major General Sameh Nabil from the Egyptian Intelligence, Egypt's general consul to Ramallah Khaled Samy as well as other officials.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in October, as part of which Hamas was to transfer power in Gaza by December 1. That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and then appeared to have been cancelled altogether after it reportedly hit “obstacles”.
On Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Egyptian delegation will follow up on the execution of the reconciliation agreement, adding that talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo earlier this month were positive.
"Hamas will present needed facilitations and necessary measures to help the Egyptian delegation succeed in implementing the reconciliation and boosting steps of confidence-building to achieve the desired national unity, especially in light of huge challenges facing the Palestinian cause and threats to the rights of the Palestinian people," Barhoum said, according to Al-Ahram.
Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk said that he hopes that the Palestinian people don't lose hope in full reconciliation and national unity and can face "conspiracies that aim to eliminate the Palestinian cause".
Sunday's visit came a few weeks after a Hamas delegation led by the head of its politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Cairo to discuss with Egyptian officials the security, reconciliation and humanitarian conditions in Gaza.
The two groups have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup. All attempts to reconcile the sides have failed.
The two key issued that have derailed previous reconciliation attempts are the payments to employees in Gaza as well as the future of Hamas's vast armed wing.
Abbas has demanded that the armed militias in Gaza disarm as part of the implementation of the agreement, but Hamas has categorically rejected this demand.