According to a diplomatic source speaking to Palestinian Ma’an News, Egyptian officials told Israeli security forces to “hold their aggression” and restrain their response to recent rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip.
These comments came mere hours after terrorists in Gaza fired missiles into Israeli civilian areas. No Israelis were injured in the strike.
The Israeli Defense Force responded to the strike quickly, sending its air force to attack four targets believed to be terrorist hideouts.
Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, reportedly arrested those allegedly responsible for the attack in a rare move of cooperation. “Israel has no intention of ignoring rocket fire on its citizens, the likes of which was perpetrated by the Islamic Jihad,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said.
“Hamas better restrain any attempts to open fire on Israel or provoke it; otherwise we will have to act more forcefully. I wouldn’t advise anyone to test us,” he also said in the same statement.
A Palestinian official quoted by Radio Israel said that most groups in the Gaza Strip view the rocket attack as contrary to the interests of this broad coalition of Palestinian organizations. Egypt, too, apparently sees renewed conflict as contrary to the interests of the region, urging cautiousness and restraint on the Israeli side of the equation.
Last summer, Israeli and Gazan terrorist organizations fought a fifty-day war, initiated by rocket strikes from the Palestinian territory in July.
In recent conflicts, Egypt has aided the Israeli effort by destroying at least 60 tunnels Palestinians used to smuggle goods and people into the territory. The Egyptian government has also seized anti-aircraft missiles destined to be used in Gaza.
Ever since current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted the former Islamist president, relations between Egypt and the Jewish state have been improving. Al-Sisi appears to view Israel as a worthy ally, unlike some of his predecessors.
In 2014, during the previous Israeli-Gazan conflict, President Obama also urged “restraint,” which earned him the ire of many in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle. Relations between the U.S. and Israel have deteriorated due to the Obama administration’s many calls for “holding back” and “moderation.”
It remains unclear how these new comments from Egyptian officials will affect diplomatic relations between the countries.