Egypt said to warn Hamas: End rocket fire, avoid Iran-led fight against Israel
Cairo reportedly threatens to stop mediating ceasefire talks with Israel unless ruling terror group reins in violence
Egypt has warned Hamas it will stop mediating truce negotiations with Israel if the Palestinian terror group does not put a lid on rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the Al-Arabiya news site reported Tuesday.
Egypt also cautioned the Gaza rulers against entanglement in an armed conflict with Israel on behalf of Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, amid soaring tensions with the Jewish state, according to the report.
Citing Egyptian sources, the Saudi TV network said Cairo would adopt new measures to ease pressure on Gaza and work to achieve calm in order to facilitate the entry of further aid to the Palestinian enclave if the violence is curbed.
The sources told Al-Arabiya that Egypt was also telling Israel to adhere to its demands on Gaza while it attempts to broker a long-term ceasefire with the de facto rulers of the Strip.
The report came as a Hamas delegation was in Cairo to hold talks with Egyptian officials over recent rocket fire from Gaza and attempts by armed fighters to infiltrate into Israel.
Since the start of August, an uptick in rocket fire and attempts by Palestinian gunmen to cross from Gaza into Israel have been met with Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets, threatening a fragile ceasefire between Israel and the ruling terror group.
On Tuesday, four mortar shells were fired at Israel, one of which landed in the south. The army responded by targeting a Hamas site.
On Sunday night, three rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, sending thousands of residents attending an outdoor concert in Sderot rushing to bomb shelters. Those rockets prompted reprisal Israeli strikes, and on Monday, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians announced it had reduced fuel shipments to the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant.
Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun — known formally as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories — said the downsizing of the shipments was ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister.
Later Monday, Abu Rukun warned Gaza residents that the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was actively trying to ignite a fresh war in the region.
Hamas has denied it directed the latest rocket fire, and Israel has accused the Palestinian Islamic Jihad of being behind the recent violence from the enclave.
Israel maintains that Hamas, as the Strip’s ruler, is ultimately responsible for all attacks emanating from the territory, while saying that it believes the Islamic Jihad is instigating the current unrest.
On Friday, Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi entered Gaza, carrying his latest delivery of cash from Doha as part of an unofficial ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. Distribution of the funds began Sunday morning.
The payments are part of a wider agreement brokered by UN and Egyptian officials to end several violent flareups in recent months between Israel and Hamas, which have fought three wars since 2008, and to help stabilize the territory and prevent a humanitarian collapse.
The attacks also came amid heightened tensions throughout the Middle East, as Israel squared off against Iran and its proxies in multiple countries, taking responsibility for an airstrike in Syria and being blamed for others in Lebanon and Iraq as well as an exploding drone incident which damaged a Hezbollah terror group complex in Beirut.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate for the Syria attack, which killed some of its members.