Egypt appeals for calm amid Gaza Strip hostilities

Egypt appeals for calm amid Gaza Strip hostilities
Israeli officials believe Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was responsible for rocket fire, not Hamas

Egypt has urged Israel and Palestine to end hostilities and adhere to the ceasefire brokered following the 11-day war last May.

Egyptian officials on Sunday asked Israel not to respond to rocket fire from Gaza Strip that landed off the coast of Tel Aviv on Saturday, the Times of Israel reported.

Israeli officials believe the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group was responsible for the rocket fire, and not Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, according to KAN. The report added that Hamas had conveyed to Israel through Egypt that it was not responsible for the rocket strike.

“Neither side wants a full-blown war,” an Egyptian diplomat aware of the developments said. “They just want guarantees and steps on the ground.”

Armed factions in Gaza blamed Saturday’s rocket fire on “weather conditions”, and said it was not an intentional act against Israel.

Lightning and weather conditions have long been cited by armed groups in Gaza as responsible for setting off rockets, though Israel has expressed doubts about such claims in the past.

In response to the incident, “a rocket manufacturing site and military posts” belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip had been struck overnight, the Israeli military said on Sunday.

Israel officials informed Egyptian mediators that even if the incident was an accident, it was “unacceptable” and provocative.

Earlier this week, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said at the start of the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting that “whoever points missiles at Israel bears responsibility”.

Egypt also asked Israel to accelerate arrangements agreed upon as part of the ceasefire. The ceasefire has been fragile but largely in place since it was brokered by Egypt after the 11-day war in May 2021.

Hamas has accused Israel of not easing the blockade it imposed on Gaza with Egypt after the Islamic movement seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Additional reporting by agencies