The Palestinian Authority (PA) has taken over control of three main crossings in the Gaza Strip from Hamas as part of Palestinian reconciliation effort, the Safa news agency reported.
Hamas staff handed over the crossings at a ceremony organised at the Rafah border terminal in the presence of senior PA and Egyptian officials. Both the Palestinian and Egyptian national anthems were played at the beginning of the ceremony.
Minister for Public Works and Housing, Mofeed Al-Hasayneh, announced that the PA had taken oover full control of the crossing and that taxes will not be collected at the crossings for goods entering the Strip. Full details of the borders' new operations have yet to be made public.
Al-Hasayneh revealed that Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is due to visit Gaza next week. "We are going forward in the reconciliation," he told journalists during the processions.
The spokesman of the Borders and Crossings Committee Hisham Odwan said: "From now on, the Government of National Accord is responsible for the Gaza Strip's crossings."
"There will be no [Hamas] staff at the crossings. All of the staff will be nominated by the Government of National Accord."
Odwan hoped that the PA and the government would accelerate their work to reopen the crossings and return them to their normal operations.