Egyptian-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fateh will continue through July in order to meet a newly established July 28 deadline. The sixth rounds of talks, which were intended to be the final chance for the two factions to sign a unity agreement with the blessing of Egypt ended today and a seventh round has been scheduled to begin July 25. Egypt initially indicated that it would cease mediating the negotiations if no agreement was reached by July 7 but has signaled that it will continue to sponsor talks aimed at meeting the new July 28 deadline.
Several sources have reported that progress has been made on the establishment of a joint security force to administer the Gaza Strip. Many issues remain unresolved, however, including prisoner swaps, the creation of a temporary unity government, and scheduling of elections.
Although earlier reports indicated that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit would be released by Hamas to Gaza in the coming days, the postponing of the reconciliation deadline seems to indicate that no such imminent release will occur.