Rafah crossing is red line: Egypt’s FM
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry - YOUM7/Ahmed Maarouf

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry accused Palestine’s Hamas, Turkey, and Qatar of trying to abort Egypt’s role in the region, he said Thursday evening during the Ramadan Iftar meal with heads of the national newspapers in the Ministry headquarters.

This “axis” [of the three countries] tried to eliminate Egypt’s efforts from the Israeli and Palestinian case as an effective and significant part, MENA reported Shoukry saying.

Egypt’s proposal of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel aimed to stop the bloodshed and protect the Palestinians’ rights, he added.

Regarding Hamas’ terms to accept the ceasefire, which included permanently opening Rafah Border Crossing with international guarantees, Shoukry also said Rafah crossing is a “red line” with Egypt’s full sovereignty.

An anonymous Palestinian official told Youm7 that Hamas will submit the concerned parties its terms for accepting the truce with Israel; such terms include permanently opening Rafah crossing with international guarantees of not closing it.

Egypt condemned the Israeli “escalation” on the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening after the Israeli Defense Forces launched a ground incursion into Gaza controlled by Hamas, according to a statement by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Thursday evening launching a ground incursion into Gaza, according to Israeli Defense Forces’ official Twitter account, which added “a new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.”

Egypt renewed its call for the concerned parties to agree on a plan to reach a truce and to accept the immediate and unconditional Egyptian initiative for ceasefire, according to the statement.

More than 245 Palestinians died and 1,770 were injured since the beginning of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, BBC reported Thursday.

The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israeli authorities found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was later found mutilated and burned, in what was widely interpreted as an act of revenge for the death of the Israelis.

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.

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