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. The talks would have started on Monday.
Two attacks on Friday in el-Arish 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.
The talks, focused on preserving the Aug. 26 truce that ended the five-week Gaza war and on opening the borders of the Egyptian and Israeli-blockaded territory, adjourned in late September for Jewish and Muslim holidays. Egypt has declared a three-month full alert in the North Sinai bordering the Gaza Strip and said a curfew would be imposed in areas where the army is waging a security crackdown against elements suspected of killing hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and policemen in the past year.