CAIRO — Egypt asked the United States to push Israel to stop its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, warning that the violence could “escalate out of control,” the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr spoke with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton late the night before, asking for “immediate US intervention to stop the Israeli aggression,” the ministry said in a statement. The call came after Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel to protest the offensive.
Israel barraged the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and shelling on Wednesday and killed the Hamas military chief in a targetted strike, launching a campaign aimed at stopping rocket attacks from militants. The assault killed 10 other Palestinians, including two children and seven militants. On Thursday, militant rockets fired into Israel killed three Israelis, raising the likelihood of a further escalation.
Amr told Clinton that if Israel’s offensive does not stop, “matters will escalate out of control” and asked the US “to use what contacts it has with Israel.”
President Barack Obama on Wednesday spoke with Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohammed Mursi, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressing his support for Israel’s right to self-defense and saying Hamas rocket fire must end.
Speaking on Thursday in Cairo, Mursi said he told Obama that Israel’s offensive must stop and should not be repeated. “We agreed that Egypt and the United States will work together to prevent any escalation or the continuation of the aggression,” a presidential statement quoted Mursi as saying.