Egypt PM condemns Israeli ‘aggression’ on Gaza

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya receives Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil in Gaza City, November 16, 2012

Al Jazeera reports: On a brief visit to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has denounced Israel’s attacks on the Palestinian territory and said Cairo would try to secure a ceasefire.

“Egypt will spare no effort … to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce,” Kandil said during a visit with wounded residents at a Gaza hospital on Friday.

Fighting reportedly continued along the Israel-Gaza border during Qandil’s three-hour visit, although Israel had announced it would hold its fire while Qandil was in the enclave on the condition that Hamas fighters did the same.

Hamas said strikes on Friday morning killed three Palestinians, including a child.

Israel’s military denied it had carried out attacks during the temporary cessation, but said about 50 rockets were fired from Gaza while Qandil was in the Palestinian territory.

“Hamas does not respect the Egyptian prime minister’s visit to Gaza and violates the temporary ceasefire that Israel agreed to during the visit,” Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter.

Egypt, now led by an Islamist government seen as ideologically close to Hamas, has arranged previous informal truces between Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip.

As air raid sirens sounded on Friday, one rocket hit the sea off the coast of Tel Aviv some 200 metres from the US embassy. On Thursday, two rockets from Gaza crashed near the city in the first such attacks on Israel’s commercial capital in 20 years.

The Israeli army said it had carried out 466 air strikes since it launched “Operation Pillar of Defence” on Wednesday afternoon with the targeted killing of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari.

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