Cairo moved to weigh in on stabilizing the armistice in Gaza after a series of mutual attacks between Israel and Palestinian factions threatened further escalation of violence. Tensions had erupted after rocket barrage was exchanged by both warring sides.
Egypt has summoned senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad members to Cairo for talks following a flare-up in tensions between the IDF and Hamas, sources, speaking under the conditions of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Islamic Jihad’s military wing commander Bahaa Abu al-Atta has already left to meet with Egyptian officials, the sources revealed.
Hamas had also said on Thursday that its Gaza chief, Yeyha Sinwar, traveled to Cairo for talks on efforts to maintain calm along the border and alleviate hardship in the enclave.
“Egypt has stepped up its efforts with Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Israel, but there is no conclusion yet,” said a Palestinian official familiar with Cairo’s mediation efforts.
The latest tensions began on Wednesday when Hamas launched incendiary balloons over the Eshkol region in Israel’s south, causing fires. The Israeli Air Force responded with air strikes on a series of targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson Avichay Adraee then confirmed that Israeli raids targeted two multi-storey buildings in Gaza City. One which housed Hamas’s intelligence and security offices and the other housed Islamic Jihad facilities
The Israeli army said its tanks and planes had hit some 200 targets in Gaza and warned that it will continue to carry out operations as needed.
Israel had also shelled tunnels and sites for the factions in the Gaza Strip, announcing the closure of all border crossings for Gaza as well as designated fishing areas as a response to the factions’ rocket fire. Israel’s announcement is a de facto total blockade.
Palestinian factions, for their part, had attacked several settlements with rockets. At least 150 shells and rockets were fired from Gaza at Israeli settlements. Sirens had gone off, sending Israelis running to shelters as blasts of rocket interceptions sounded overhead.
The Islamic Jihad, in a statement, had rejected Israeli accusations, stressing that “Palestinian resistance performs according to its duty on protecting Palestinians.
It also asserted its willingness to carry on with the retaliatory attacks.