Last updated: 17 July, 2014

Egypt denounces Israeli “escalation” in Gaza  

Egypt’s foreign ministry denounced Israel’s “escalation” in Gaza after the start of a ground offensive late on Thursday, and again demanded both sides accept a Cairo proposed truce.

The ground operation after 10 days of Israeli bombardment of the coastal strip is aimed at hitting the Palestinian militant Hamas group, which rejected the truce and continued firing rockets into Israel after the Jewish State agreed to the ceasefire.

“Egypt condemns the Israeli escalation in Gaza and calls for self-control as its air strikes and ground operation only aggravate the situation and do not help preserve Israel’s security,” the foreign ministry said.

It said both Israel and Hamas must “immediately and unconditionally accept the Egyptian (ceasefire) proposal as it offers protection to the Palestinian people. It is the only way to halt the aggression and preserve the blood of our brotherly Palestinian people.”

Earlier Thursday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri criticised Hamas, saying it could have saved dozens of lives had it accepted Cairo’s ceasefire proposal presented earlier this week.

Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, had rejected the ceasefire intended to start on Tuesday and continued firing rockets at Israeli cities.