Gaza's Hamas rulers on Monday contacted Egypt's new leadership for the first time since a popular revolt toppled Hosni Mubarak from power last month, a statement from the Islamist group said.

Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh telephoned Egypt's new Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to congratulate him on his post and urged him to help lift an Israeli blockade of the coastal territory, a statement from Haniyeh's office said.

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