Breaking UPDATE – Egypt Mediating To Restore Calm To Gaza Amid Israeli Airstrikes SonDakika-Haberleri.Net
12 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza.
Egypt said it is holding contacts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip amid Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory.
A statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Cairo was "conducting intensive communications" to "contain the situation in Gaza" and "preserve lives and property."
The statement did not provide any further details, but an Egyptian official told the local channel Extra News that Cairo was communicating with Israel and Palestinian factions to end the current escalation in Gaza.
"Egypt is conducting intensive communications with the Palestinian and Israeli sides to end the current escalation in Gaza and to contain the situation," said the official, who preferred to remain unnamed.
"Our goal is the continuation of the ceasefire, the stability of the region, and the safeguarding of potentials for peace," he added.
Islamic Jihad group confirmed receiving contacts from Egypt and the UN to end escalation in Gaza.
"It's still premature to talk about efforts [to restore] calm," group spokesman Daoud Shehab said.
"We still have a lot to do to respond to this aggression," he added.
Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Friday citing "imminent threat of attack" by Islamic Jihad group.
At least 12 Palestinians, including a 5-year-old girl, were killed and 84 others injured in the Israeli attacks, according to the Health Ministry.
The attacks came amid rising tensions across the Palestinian territories since Monday when Israeli forces detained Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group, in a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
The Israeli army has imposed restrictions on the Gaza Strip, including the closure of border crossings with the Palestinian territory, amid fears of a retaliatory response from the Islamic Jihad group to the arrest.
The Israeli army said Saturday that over 160 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, with 60 of them intercepted. The military warned that its airstrikes in Gaza may last for a week.
Last year, Egypt managed to broker a ceasefire in Gaza after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the seaside territory during which more than 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed in rocket fire from Gaza during the course of the hostilities.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar -