Egypt, After Sinai Attacks, Postpones Gaza Talks

CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -

Egypt announced on Sunday it was postponing talks in Cairo on cementing the Gaza war ceasefire after closing its border with the Palestinian enclave in response to deadly attacks in the Sinai peninsula.

Two attacks on Friday 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 Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year.

Citing “the state of emergency in the border area between Egypt and Gaza” and the closure on Friday 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.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks in Sinai. Similar operations have been claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active Sinai-based jihadi group.

Egypt has accused Hamas in the past of aiding Islamist armed groups in Sinai — an allegation denied by the Gaza movement, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.