Israel, Egypt hold talks aimed at ‘permanent ceasefire’ in Gaza
Egypt’s foreign minister, in a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, has stressed the need to build on a truce between Israel and Hamas by stopping all practices that lead to escalation.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed in his meeting with Gabi Ashkenazi in Cairo on Sunday “the need to take into account the special sensitivity associated with East Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and all Islamic and Christian holy sites”, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Tensions escalated last month after Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Muslim worshippers in the final days of the holy month of Ramadan.
After issuing an ultimatum demanding Israel cease its attacks on the mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel. Israel followed with an offensive that killed almost 250 Palestinians.
Egypt helped broker the May 21 ceasefire to halt the worst fighting in years between Israel and Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, and is working with the United States and regional partners to expand it into a more permanent ceasefire.