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Egypt calls for an open-ended Gaza cease-fire agreement
Courtesy: Gigi Ibrahim
 

As violence escalates in Gaza following the collapse of Cairo talks last week, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday night calling on both parties to accept an open-ended cease-fire and resume indirect talks in Cairo.

Last Wednesday, Israel started heavily shelling Gaza during an extended 24-hour cease-fire, while negotiations were underway in Cairo. Israel blamed Hamas for breaking the cease-fire by launching rockets into Israel, while the Palestinian delegation in Cairo accused Israel of withdrawing from the negotiations and not responding to a Palestinian proposal. Both delegations left Cairo, and the Palestinian delegation expressed its willingness to return if negotiations were resumed.

Since then, violence has escalated in Gaza, with three top Hamas leaders killed by Israeli shelling.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said in statements to the Saudi Newspaper Oqaz on Saturday that Egypt is engaging in extensive communication in an attempt to stop the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said in a press conference held in Cairo on Saturday following a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that Egypt plays an essential part in Gaza negotiations.

Abbas met on Sunday with head of the Egyptian Intelligence, Mohamed al-Tohamy, in Cairo and commended Egypt’s efforts to reach a cease-fire.

Hamas has not had a direct response to Egypt’s call for a cease-fire but it has issued a statement on Saturday saying that it supports any “true effort that guarantees the realization of Palestinian demands,” and that it would consider all proposals that it receives.

Israel has not responded to Egypt’s call for a truce, launching an air strike on Gaza on Sunday that has so far killed two Palestinians. 

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