In key step, Hamas gives up control of Gaza border crossings

The Islamic militant group Hamas has handed over control of Gaza's border crossings with Israel and Egypt to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.

Wednesday's handover was the first tangible step in implementing a reconciliation deal between Hamas and the rival Fatah party, which controls the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah forces a decade ago. Hamas recently agreed to return control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.

Handing over the crossings is aimed at easing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that was imposed on Gaza to isolate Hamas.

The Palestinian rivals are scheduled to meet Nov. 21 in Cairo to discuss other sticking points that have derailed previous reconciliation attempts, including the fate of some 40,000 public servants hired by Hamas and the vast arsenal of Hamas' military wing.