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December 4, 2020
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Egyptian mediators launch bid to secure Israel-Gaza truce

Egyptian officials said on Tuesday Cairo is attempting to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza amid the worst bout of fighting in recent months. 

 

The officials say Egypt’s general intelligence agency has stepped up communications and has “opened channels” with the U.S. and the European Union. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. 

Rockets launched from Gaza at Israel (Photo: EPA)

Rockets launched from Gaza at Israel (Photo: EPA)

 

Egypt often acts as a mediator between Israel and Gaza militants, and brokered a cease-fire deal in May. 

That deal appeared threatened Tuesday after a pre-dawn Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed senior Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Atta. 

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Militants in Gaza have responded with rockets fired into Israel, and the IDF has carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza.

 

Jordan’s foreign ministry condemned on Tuesday Israel’s strike in the Gaza Strip that killed Abu al-Atta.

 

Abu al-Atta home after IDF airstrike which led to his death (Photo: MCT)

Abu al-Atta home after IDF airstrike which led to his death (Photo: MCT)

 

Daifallah al-Fayez, a spokesman for the Jordanian foreign ministry, blamed Israel in a statement for the ensuing escalation in violence.

 

“The fighting will only increase tension and violence, deepen the environment of despair and promote extremist agendas in the region, ” said al-Fayez

 

Al-Fayez called for Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations, saying that talks, along with an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory, could bring a solution to Gaza’s woes.

 

However, despite Israeli declarations that “quiet will be met with quiet,” Islamic Jihad on Tuesday dismissed the possibility of immediate ceasefire negotiations.

 

“It is too early to talk about mediation or communication,’ the group said. “The martyrs’ blood is not yet dry. The factions will not allow Netanyahu to use this crime for Israeli political purposes.”

 

Islamic Jihad’s leader in Gaza Khaled al-Batsh said: “The campaign against Israel is ongoing. We will not allow it to change the rules of our military conflict. We have no choice but confrontation and nothing will prevent us from responding to this assassination.”

 

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov traveled to Cairo on Tuesday in a bid to mediate a cease fire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.

 

Mladenov has been involved in talks between the parties since Tuesday morning in an effort to reach a truce.

 

Officials involved in the talks say that the situation is very complex and that the chance for further escalation is high.

 

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