Egyptian Officials Mediating to Prevent Gaza Rocket Fire at Israel, Report Says

Militants in Gaza agree not to fire rockets into Israel in exchange for limiting Jewish entry into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and opening border crossings, Palestinian newspaper reports

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Jews entering the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, on Thursday.
Jews entering the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, on Thursday.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/Reuters
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Egyptian officials have been working in recent days to prevent militants in the Gaza Strip from launching rockets into Israel in response to Jews entering the Temple Mount compound, the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper reported Saturday.

In the talks, which began prior to the terror attack in the central Israeli city of Elad, Palestinians demanded that Israel reduce the entry of Jews into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that the border crossings between Israel and Gaza be opened, according to the report.

In exchange, militant factions in Gaza will not launch rockets from the Strip toward Israel and will restore calm in the region. According to the report, Egyptian talks with factions in the Gaza Strip are still ongoing.

The report also said that "talk in Israel" about assassinating Hamas' Gaza Strip leader Yahya Sinwar, or other senior members of the militant group, is laying the groundwork for "another round of escalation."

Speaking to 103FM radio on Friday, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Israel Ziv, the IDF's former Gaza Division commander, said that "Israel must eliminate Yahya Sinwar" over his recent calls on Palestinians to commit attacks using "a gun, an ax or a knife," which the country's security officials are pinning as the fuel behind Thursday's deadly attack in Elad.

Sources in Hamas have responded that any assassination attempts of its senior members would lead to retaliatory attacks in Israel's streets, according to Al-Mayadeen news.

"We will burn the cities in [the country's] center and launch missiles at Tel Aviv and Gush Dan if Israel acts on its threats," one of the sources said, a message which has been conveyed through Egyptian mediators.

In a statement issued by a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, the group warned "the enemy and its failing leadership against hurting Yahya Sinwar... would unleash a regional earthquake and an unprecedented response."

If Israel targets Hamas' senior leadership, it would be "a foolish act" that would cost in "blood and destruction," Abu Ubaida said.

A Palestinian source quoted by Al-Ayyam said that there were issues that had not yet been resolved yet, "especially Israel's refusal to stop armed operations in the West Bank and within the country."

He said factions in Gaza claimed that the recent attacks "were mainly individual acts", and are "a response to Israeli crimes in the West Bank. West Bank residents cannot stand back as long as the occupation continues."

In Jerusalem, Jewish worshippers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday escorted by a heavy police detail. In response, clashes erupted between police and Palestinians at the site.

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