Egypt urges Israel to stop “escalation” in Gaza

By Mohammed Mahmoud

CAIRO (AA) – Egypt made contact with Israel to in an effort to halt Isralei "escalation" in the Gaza Strip, according to an Egyptian source.

"Egypt informed the Israeli authorities of the need to stop its escalation in the Gaza Strip and to abide by the course of calm and progress achieved during the past period," state-run Al-Ahram and Akhbar Al-Youm dailies quoted an unnamed a high-ranking Egyptian source late Monday.

The source also stressed there were continued contacts with the leaders of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to reach a cease-fire.

“All the Egyptian state's devices are concerned and closely follow the situation in the Gaza Strip," according to the source.

Egyptian efforts comes after Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza late Monday after rockets were fired against Jewish settlements.

Three Palestinians were martyred in the attacks and nine others injured.

The Israeli army said 200 rockets were fired from Gaza since Monday but the country’s air defense system, Iron Dome, intercepted 60 with most of the rest falling on empty land.

In recent weeks, Egyptian officials have engaged in a flurry of shuttle diplomacy between Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, during which they held numerous meetings with Hamas, Fatah and Israeli officials.

The talks were aimed at hammering out a truce between Israel and Hamas and achieving a degree of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah following years of acrimony.