Al-Azhar, Coptic Church condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza
Grand Emam Ahmed al-Tayeb and Pope Tawadros II - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Al-Azhar, the Coptic Orthodox Church and several other Egyptian entities have condemned the ongoing Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Israeli attacks have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and the demolition of more than 150 houses since July 1.

The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement Saturday condemning Israel’s attack against the Gaza Strip, several media outlets reported.

The church expressed its solidarity with the Palestinians, and called on the United Nations to intercede immediately to end the violence.

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb Saturday in a statement denounced the “crimes of the Zionist entity” against Gaza, several media outlets reported.

Tayeb said that the aggression was a “genocidal” war against unarmed Palestinians.

He called for an immediate response from the Arab League, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the U.N. Security Council and all human rights organizations to end the “assault.”

According to Al-Ahram and other media outlets Sunday, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in a July 10 phone call with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, warned of the dangers of military escalation in Gaza and the death and injuries it causes civilians. He emphasized Egypt’s solidarity with Palestine and its commitment to providing aid to Palestine.

Former Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy told Youm7 on Saturday that Sisi is dealing wisely with the Palestinian cause.

The Muslim Brotherhood organized a protest last Friday against the Israeli offensive.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on Israel to exercise self-restraint and stop its “vengeful collective punishment” and policies against Palestinians, according to a press statement issued July 2.

The secretary-general of Egypt’s state-run rights watchdog National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), Mokhles Kotb, demanded the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) immediately intervene to halt human rights violations against the Palestinian people, Abdul Ghaffar Shukr, vice president of the NCHR, told Youm7 Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities Thursday opened the Rafah border crossing to receive injured Palestinians, according to news reports.

Youm7 also reported 15 tons of medical aid was sent from Egypt to Gaza. Dozens of youth from Arish, Rafah, Sheikh Zuwayed and Be’r el-Abd cities formed volunteer teams to receive wounded and to donate blood.

Egypt closed the Rafah border crossing 12 hours after its opening, allowing 412 people, 392 of whom were Egyptian, into Egyptian territory, Youm7 reported.

Meanwhile, several Egyptian parties deplored the Israeli offensive and called on the Egyptian government to announce a position that is “clearly pro-Gaza.” The Misr al-Qawia party even called for expelling the Israeli ambassador.

Eleven political parties and organizations in a joint Sunday statement said Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip was “against humanity.” The parties announced they would open their headquarters to receive donations for aid to Gaza to be sent in a convoy next week.

Israel announced the disappearance of three Israeli settlers in the West Bank in June and accused Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of kidnapping them. After a few days, they were found murdered, which caused uproar among the Israeli public. In alleged retaliation, Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped, and his dead body was later found burned. Palestinian authorities say he was burned alive by extremist Jews.

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