CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Egypt Tuesday to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, and other officials the ongoing Israeli offensive on Gaza, the state owned news agency MENA reported.
Kerry called Shoukry Monday to discuss the latest Palestine-Israel conflict and the ongoing efforts by Egypt to stop the escalation of Israeli strikes on Gaza.
More than 170 Palestinians have been killed and 1,260 injured since the beginning of Israel’s offensive on the Gaza strip, heath officials from Gaza told the BBC Sunday.
The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis. However, the Israeli military said it attacked 34 targets in Gaza, mostly belonging to Hamas, claiming that it did not link the strikes to the abductions, Reuters reported. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4, the Jerusalem Post reported.
On July 10, Kerry called both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reiterated U.S. concerns over the escalation between both sides, according to a statement issued by the U.S. State Department.
U.S. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu to say his country is still prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement, according to a press statement issued from the White House on July 10.
Kerry’s visit was announced as the Arab League is holding a Monday meeting in Cairo to discuss the situation in Palestine.
Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair arrived in Cairo Saturday and held talks with Egyptian officials on the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, Youm7 reported. He then headed immediately to Tel Aviv to discuss a return to the terms of the 2012 ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israel.