Egypt urged the Palestinians and Israel to “exercise restraint” after Hamas militants launched a deadly air, land and sea assault Saturday from Gaza against Israel which responded with air strikes.
Historically a key mediator in conflicts between the two sides, Egypt warned of the “dire danger of ongoing escalation”.
The Egyptian foreign ministry in a statement appealed to “both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to exercise the highest degrees of restraint”.
Top diplomat Sameh Shoukry made a series of calls Saturday in an attempt to rally “international actors” to “intervene immediately”.
In a call with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, both ministers “expressed their deep concern about the progressive and dangerous deterioration of events”.
In a separate statement, Safadi warned of the “volatility” of the situation, “particularly in light of what cities and areas of the West Bank are witnessing of Israeli attacks and violations against the Palestinian people.”
The Hamas assault follows months of surging violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with fatalities in the occupied West Bank hitting a scale not seen in years.
Jordan and Egypt were the first two countries in the region to forge peace deals with Israel, before a wave of United States-backed diplomatic normalisation since 2020, including the United Arab Emirates.
Egypt’s Shoukry called UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Saturday, to discuss “the gravity of the current situation and the need to make every effort to prevent the security situation from getting out of control.”
The Hamas attack has been met with a wave of condemnation from around the world. European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen called it “terrorism in its most despicable form.”
In a call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Shoukry stressed the “importance of stopping the escalation and all sides’ exercising restraint”.
Egypt also called on the international community to “urge Israel to stop the attacks and provocative actions against the Palestinian people and to adhere to the principles of international humanitarian law with regard to the responsibilities of an occupying state.”