Egypt Postpones Israel-Hamas Talks in Wake of Sinai Attack, Hamas Official Says

Hamas official Khalil Al-Haya says Palestinian negotiating team told not to come to Cairo this week due to security situation in Sinai and closure of Rafah crossing.

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Palestinians at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on August 27, 2014.Credit: AFP

Egypt has decided to postpone the indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the wake of Friday's attack in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Hamas official Khalil Al-Haya said Sunday.

The talks were meant to resume on Monday, according to a schedule presented earlier this month. Cairo informed the Palestinian negotiating team, of which Al-Haya is a member, that the talks could not resume at this point due to the security situation in the Gaza Strip and the closure of the Rafah Crossing with the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday evening, the head of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo Azam al-Ahmed confirmed that the Egyptians postponed the talks due to Friday's attack, and said that the talks will resume on the second half on November. 

Officials in Gaza have expressed great concern over the postponement of the talks, particularly with regard to the immediate effect it has on the Strip: a continued delay in the flow of construction materials and the rehabilitation of the territory.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack but similar operations have been claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active Sinai-based jihadist group.

The London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat on Sunday quoted Egyptian Interior Minister General Sami Bashadi as saying that Palestinian elements were involved in the attack on Friday. Egypt's Al-Akhbar reported that the perpetrators of the attack entered the peninsula via underground tunnels from Gaza.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, meanwhile,  that the attacks had benefited from "foreign support" without specifying a particular country or group.