GAZA, March 7 (Reuters) - 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.
Gaza shares a border with Israel
and Egypt. Both countries have limited the movement of people and goods into and from Gaza since Hamas seized the territory in 2007, a policy which has crippled the enclave's economic growth.
Israel says the measures were intended to safeguard its security and prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza
Egypt for three years has been mediating a rift between Hamas and the rival Fatah
, the secular movement of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
who controls the West Bank
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi;Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Ralph Boulton)