GAZA - The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip freed seven imprisoned members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction on Wednesday, saying it was trying to promote reconciliation with its West Bank-based rival.

Hamas, which seized Gaza from Western-backed Fatah in 2007, made the unity gesture at a time when the Islamist movement is grappling with a rift with neighboring Egypt's military-backed government that has damaged and isolated the enclave's economy.

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