Egypt seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up - GulfToday

Egypt seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

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Students from the University of Palestine celebrate during an annual graduation ceremony in Gaza City on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said on Sunday.

The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the officials said.

A statement on Saturday from hardliner movement Hamas said the discussions included talks on “understandings with the enemy” − a reference to a fragile ceasefire with Israel tested in recent days.

Contacted on Sunday, a Hamas official said the movement did not want to comment further beyond its official statements.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the delegation in Ramallah on Saturday on the Gaza-Israel ceasefire and attempts to heal the long-existing division between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

Fresh tensions were feared after Israel shot dead a Hamas member on Thursday along the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the hardliner movement to vow revenge.

Israel later signalled it had fired in error, saying an initial inquiry showed soldiers misidentified a Hamas security agent as “an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding.”

On Friday night, Israel’s military said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but no damage or injuries were reported.

Earlier in the day, at least 33 Palestinians were shot and wounded during weekly demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

A Palestinian child was seriously wounded on Friday during clashes between Israeli forces and protesters in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry and official media said.

In a statement the ministry said the child was in the operating room in a “critical condition, after being shot in the head with live ammunition.”

Official news agency Wafa named him as Abdelrahman Shteiwi, saying he was 10 years old and was wounded during clashes in Kafr Qaddum near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

It said he had been shot by Israeli live fire in the head, while other reports said it was a rubber-coated bullet.

Agence France-Presse