Cairo Official: Hope for Truce Later This Week

CAIRO -
A Israeli soldier takes cover as an Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept a rocket from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

An Egyptian intelligence official said that they hope to mediate a truce between Israel and the terrorist groups in Gaza before the end of this week, to coincide the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

The official said the efforts began in late April as the situation in Yerushalayim worsened. He said Israeli actions, including the recent storming of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the east Yerushalayim neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, have frustrated the mediators.

He said “the situation is changing rapidly.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing ongoing diplomatic efforts.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Samach Sochri also told the Arab League on Tuesday that Cairo is engaged in intensive efforts with Israel and all the relevant parties to prevent any further escalation of violence.

Earlier in the day, Egypt expressed concern about the escalation of violence by Hamas, saying that Israel has so far showed disinterest in mediation efforts. Cairo traditionally assumes the role of mediator between Israel and Hamas.

A senior Egyptian intelligence official told Yisrael Hayom on Tuesday that “the last time Israel didn’t respond to mediation attempts with Hamas was in 2014. We hope we don’t see prolonged hostilities.”

“Hamas and the armed factions in Gaza failed to properly assess Israel’s response [to Monday’s rocket fire on Yerushalayim] and now Hamas has its back against the wall,” he said.

“We are very concerned about the possibility that the escalation in Gaza will lead to a wide-scale military confrontation that will claim many lives,” he said.

Reporting by the Associated Press.