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Egypt's Islamist president meeting Palestinian rivals, trying again for reconciliation

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In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency) (The Associated Press)

Egypt's Islamist president has stepped into a bitter Palestinian rivalry, meeting separately with leaders of the factions.

Mohammed Morsi first talked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday. He had a meeting set for later with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Hamas.

The two Palestinian groups have been at odds since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, ousting forces from Fatah, which Abbas leads. Many efforts to end the split have failed over the years.

In a sign that the equation may be changing with the Brotherhood's rise to power in Egypt, for the first time Hamas allowed thousands of Fatah backers to rally in Gaza last week.

In 2011, Mashaal and Abbas signed a reconciliation agreement, but it was not implemented.