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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Egypt calls on Israel to end military action in Gaza

Cairo underlined 'the necessity to bring an end to the violence and escalation, to restore calm immediately'

Residents of southern Israel protest against their government's decision to cease fire in Gaza. Reuters
Residents of southern Israel protest against their government's decision to cease fire in Gaza. Reuters

Egypt on Tuesday called on Israel to end its military action in Gaza, after Palestinian militants in the enclave agreed to a Cairo-brokered ceasefire to halt the spike in violence.

Following the most severe flare-up between the two sides since 2014, Egypt “reiterated... its request to Israel to immediately stop all forms of military action” in Gaza, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Cairo, which along with the United Nations has acted as a mediator, underlined “the necessity to bring an end to the violence and escalation, to restore calm immediately”.

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Egypt also warned of “serious and negative consequences of continuing this vicious cycle” of violence.

Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip said they would abide by an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, as long as Israel did the same.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the military have yet to comment on the announcement.

Seven Gazans were killed during the course of 24 hours in Israeli air strikes targeting militants and flattening buildings in the densely populated territory.

About 460 rockets and mortar rounds were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian labourer and wounding 27 people.

The UN Security Council was due to meet behind closed doors later on Tuesday to discuss the violence.

The escalation was sparked by a botched Israeli special forces operation inside Gaza, which left seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli army officer dead.