Egypt is trying to broker a new armistice between Israel and Hamas in an effort to stop the violence of recent days from escalating further, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported on Saturday.
According to the report, Cairo has delivered an Israeli communiqué to Hamas, saying that its actions following Thursday's deadly terror attacks near Eilat meant to target their perpetrators alone; and that it will cease its air strikes on Gaza if Hamas and the Strip's other militant groups cease their rocket fire on Israel.
Escalation is south:
- Rocket salvo hits south
- Hamas terrorists: Lull is over
- Report: IDF kills PRC commander
- PM vows additional retaliation
The newspapers added that Egypt's efforts are focused on both preventing the violence in southern Israel from spiraling out of control, as well as preventing an wide-scale Israel military campaign in Gaza.
A similar report was carried by al-Risalah, Hamas' newspaper in Gaza, which quoted Egypt's Envoy to Ramallah Yasser Othman as saying that an "agreement in principle" about a ceasefire has been achieved between Israel and Hamas.
"Egypt is conducting intensive talks with both parties on the matter. Neither one is interested in seeing things escalate," Othman said.
Armistice brokerage efforts aside, Israel-Egypt diplomatic relations suffered a blow Saturday, after Cairo announced it was recalling its ambassador, Yasser Reda, from Israel in protest of the deaths of five Egyptian security forces in a border incident which took place Thursday.
The Foreign Ministry has called the "regrettable," adding the Israel seeks to maintain its close ties with Egypt, which it sees a strategic partner.
A ministry source stressed that Israel strives to resolve the issue before Ambassador Reda leaves.
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