Following a rocket barrage from Gaza on Thursday, visiting Egyptian officials warned Hamas that it will not “lift a finger” to halt retribution if Israel takes decisive action.
By World Israel News Staff
Israeli media reports that Egyptian officials were enraged last Thursday when news reached them of the rocket attack over the Tel Aviv area from the Gaza Strip at the very moment they were acting as mediators to the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
“If Israel decides to start a wide-scale operation in Gaza, [Egypt] won’t stop the Israeli attacks. Even if Israel ends your rule in Gaza by assassinating every single one of you and reconquer[ing] Gaza, Egypt and its allies won’t lift a finger to stop the Israeli response,” said a senior Egyptian negotiator at the meeting, according to daily newspaper Israel Hayom.
“You’re endangering our lives,” the official added. “Gazans’ blood is on your hands.’
The senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom what he had said at the meeting and that his delegation had been blindsided by news of the rocket attack, which arrived just as the Egyptian team was relaying potential terms of a ceasefire agreement from Israel to Hamas leaders.
Egyptian diplomats screamed at Hamas leader Yahyah Sinwar, “Where do you think your double-dealing will land you? We’re trying to finalize a peace agreement with Israel, and behind our backs you let your people fire missiles at Tel Aviv?”
The official told the paper that Sinwar appeared no less surprised by the news and said that Hamas was not behind the rocket attack. Sinwar then asked the Egyptian delegation to get in touch with Israel’s defense establishment and let them know that Hamas wasn’t responsible.
The two rockets were launched at Tel Aviv around 9:00 p.m. on Thursday. Nine others were launched at communities in southern Israel. The missiles set off rocket sirens in the densely populated Israeli city, in addition to triggering alarms throughout the Dan region.
In response, Israel hammered over 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attack marked the first time since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge that terrorists in Gaza attempted to strike Tel Aviv with rockets. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group in Gaza, also denied responsibility for the attacks, but Israeli security officials are skeptical about the denials.
Both groups are bankrolled by Iran, with the Hamas terror organization serving as the official government of the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptian official said that before the news of the attack reached the delegation, the meeting was calm “and full of smiles.”
“We estimated that Hamas would accept [the Israeli conditions] permitting a stable and long-term calm. Minutes after one of the aides to the Egyptian delegation entered the room with a worried expression and handed his cellular phone to the heads of the delegation. The smiles quickly changed to sober expressions,” the senior official said to Israel Hayom.