GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Islamic militant group Hamas on Wednesday handed over control of Gaza’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, taking the first tangible step toward implementing a reconciliation deal with the rival Fatah movement.

After a decade of Hamas rule, the group’s security forces and border control agents were seen pulling away from the crossings that facilitate the movement of cargo and people in and out of Gaza. Representatives of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority quickly took up positions.

“From now on, we have no relationship with crossings and our employees are not present inside them,” Mohammed Abu Zaid, the Hamas-appointed director of crossing points, said.

Hamas seized control from the Fatah-led forces of the Palestinian Authority in 2007. But after a decade of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, Hamas’ new leadership says the group is no longer interesting in governing Gaza. The blockade has hit Gaza’s economy hard, with over 40 percent unemployment and chronic power outages.

Under Egyptian mediation, the two rivals last month announced a preliminary reconciliation deal, but many issues remain unresolved. The sides are to meet in Cairo on Nov. 21 to continue talks on two of the thorniest issues, the fate of 40,000 employees hired by the Hamas government and control of Hamas’ vast arsenal of rockets, mortars and explosives. Hamas’ military wing has said it will not give up its weapons.

Still, Wednesday’s handover marked an important step forward. Officials hope that the handover will lead to an easing of the blockade. Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist group, and Egypt say the blockade was needed to prevent the flow of weapons and militants in and out of Gaza.

“We finished the first phase of the reconciliation with excellence,” Hamas’ top leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said during a seminar in Gaza City. “We are going to (discuss) big issues.”

In Israel, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai instructed senior officers to meet with Palestinian Authority representatives to discuss the changes at the crossings.

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