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Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum said on Sunday he could not say exactly when contact originally planned for October 27 would take place. He said the Egyptian authorities had notified about cancellation of planned consultations in the Egyptian capital, where the Palestinians and the Israeli were to begin the discussion of the most acute outstanding issues, including complete lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, restoring the enclave’s sea harbor and airport, release of detainees, and others.
In the meantime, regional observers say Cairo’s step was motivated by the tense situation in northern areas of the Sinai Peninsula, including at the border with the Gaza Strip. A state of emergency was imposed in the area after last Friday’s terrorist attack at an army check point, which killed 31 servicemen. A curfew was imposed in a number of district and a large-scale anti-terrorist operation was launched in the northern part of the peninsula.
On August 26, the Palestinians and the Israeli agreed in Cairo on an indefinite truce after a more than 50-day Israel’s operation in Gaza. The ceasefire agreement also provided for resumption of indirect contacts in the Egyptian capital within a month. Such contacts resumed in Cairo on September 25 but were postponed to late October due to religious holidays.