Egypt condemns Israeli airstrikes on Gaza
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned Israel's airstrikes on the Gaza Strip this week, saying they are an attempt to deflect attention from the failed peace process, dpa reported.
"We condemn these airstrikes. They contribute nothing but add to the tension and inflame negative feelings towards Israel," foreign ministry spokesperson Hussam Zaki said in a press statement.
An Israeli airstrike on a militant cell in the Gaza Strip on Saturday killed five gunmen. Since then, mortar shells and rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Hamas-controlled strip, injuring one Israeli girl.
Four Palestinians were injured in more Israeli airstrikes on Monday and Tuesday.
"The airstrikes are an attempt to divert attention from the failure of peace process, which is a result of Israel's intransigent positions," Zaki said.
Earlier this month, US and Middle East diplomats scrambled to salvage the peace process. Direct talks between Israel and Palestine, launched in September, collapsed in less than a month after Israel refused to renew a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.
"Israel must not be allowed to escalate aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," Zaki added.
Some 1,400 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed during an Israeli offensive on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009. Israel maintained it was striking Hamas targets in an attempt to curb rocket attacks launched at its territory.
Egypt and Israel have maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million inhabitants since Hamas seized control of the area in 2007. Israel controls Gaza's air and naval space, and the movement of goods and people in and out of the territory by land is extremely restricted.