Egypt postpones Israel-Hamas talks

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Egypt announced on Oct. 26 it was postponing indirect talks in Cairo between Hamas and Israel on cementing the Gaza war ceasefire after closing its border with the Palestinian enclave in response to deadly attacks in the Sinai Peninsula.

Two Oct. 24 attacks in Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel, killed at least 33 Egyptian security personnel in some of the worst anti-state violence since former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year.

Citing “the state of emergency in the border area between Egypt and Gaza” and the closure on Oct. 24 of the Rafah crossing, a senior Egyptian diplomat said indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian factions would not resume in the coming week. No new date for the negotiations was announced.

The talks, focused on preserving the Aug. 26 truce that ended the 50-day Operation Protective Edge and on opening the borders of the Egyptian and Israeli-blockaded territory, adjourned in late September for Jewish and Muslim holidays.

An easing of frontier restrictions is crucial for reconstructing tens of thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip that were damaged or destroyed in the fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Israel wants security arrangements that will ensure such material is not used by Hamas to rebuild cross-border tunnels or to manufacture rockets —