Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has begun talks with representatives of Hamas and Fatah, hoping to establish common ground in the Palestinian factions' approach to Israel, Senegalese state media reported on Saturday.
Wade said at the end of an Organizations of the Islamic Conference summit that he hosted in March that Israel and the Palestinian factions had asked him to mediate between them.
"The head of state of Senegal is talking with the delegates from Hamas and Fatah one after the other," Senegal's official daily Le Soleil quoted Wade's spokesman El Hadj Amadou Sall as saying of the talks, which the paper said began on Friday.
Sall was unavailable for immediate comment on Saturday.
The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Thursday he welcomed what he called a "new spirit" of dialogue in a keynote speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.
However, aides to Abbas rejected suggestions the Palestinian president had taken a warmer tone to his Hamas Islamist opponents, and insisted his call for "a national and comprehensive dialogue" with Hamas concerned only implementation of a recent Yemeni diplomatic initiative.
That initiative called for Hamas to give up its hold on Gaza.
Hamas says responsible for murder of 26 Israelis
Hamas has claimed belated responsibility for a string of attacks in Israel carried out several years ago.
A Hamas web site lists nine attacks that killed 26 Israelis from 2002 until 2005. Other Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for some of those attacks at the time.
Hamas says it kept quiet about its role until now for security reasons. The web site says all the attackers came from the West Bank.
It's not immediately clear whether Hamas really did commit all of those attacks. But the announcement suggests they want to emphasize its role in the West Bank.
AP and Reuters contributed to this report