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Palestinian Sources: Egypt Prevented Imminent War in Gaza

Palestinian Sources: Egypt Prevented Imminent War in Gaza

Wednesday, 1 November, 2017 - 07:30
Members from the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine attend the funeral of fellow members killed in an Israeli operation to blow up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israel during their funeral at the Bureij refugee camp, in central Gaza, on October 31, 2017. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Informed Palestinian sources said on Tuesday that Egypt succeeded to stop or postpone a confrontation that was about to erupt between the Islamic Jihad and Israel, after the latter killed a number of the movement’s fighters in a tunnel explosion near the border.

“When the news about the high presence of casualties began to spread and how Israel deliberately killed them, the situation looked very difficult as the Islamic Jihad Movement had announced total mobilization among its fighters,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They said that following the attack, worries emerged in Israel, Ramallah, Egypt and even in the ranks of Hamas about what effect the incident could have on the region’s stability, before Cairo exerted all its weight to prevent a possible collapse of the situation.

Two days ago, Israel blew up a tunnel of the Islamic Jihad Movement killing seven fighters from the movement and from Hamas while an unidentified number of their trapped comrades were still under the rubble.

Several parties expected an immediate response from the Movement, similar to what happened in Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 war fought for 51 days between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas after Israel killed seven fighters from the Qassem Battalion by shelling a tunnel owned by the group.

To evade a similar scenario, officials from the Egyptian Intelligence engaged in long talks with leaders of the Islamic Jihad, focusing on the need not to be dragged behind a war that Israel currently desires.

According to the sources, Egypt also said that Israel should miss the chance of disrupting the current efforts to reach a settlement between the two sides and to establish a national unity government in order to save the Gaza Strip instead of taking the area into a new vortex of destruction.

The Authority and Hamas agreed that the best response to the Israeli attack would be to achieve reconciliation between the two groups.

It looked clear that both sides do not wish to enter in any new confrontation with Tel Aviv.

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