Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Decries Israeli Military Operations In West Bank

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the latest Israeli military operations against Palestinians in the West Bank, state-owned MENA news agency reported.

The ministry said that the operations, that vary from bombings to house demolitions to arrests and military prosecutions, will increase tensions and thus hinder efforts of the Palestinian Authority working to stabilise the security situation.

The foreign ministry renewed calls for Israeli authorities to exercise maximum self-restraint. The ministry also expressed its support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in his efforts to minimise the security deterioration in order to start working on the needs of the Palestinian people.

Israel has accused Hamas of kidnapping seminary students who disappeared last Thursday while hitchhiking close to a Jewish settlement. Hamas has neither denied nor claimed responsibility for the abductions.

Since the disappearance of Gil-Ad Shaer and US-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, Israeli raids have spread from house-to-house searches in Hebron, a Hamas stronghold, to Palestinian towns and cities across the West Bank.

A military spokesman said more than 65 Palestinians were detained overnight Wednesday, including 51 who were part of a group of 1,027 prisoners released by Israel three years ago in return for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was seized by Hamas in 2006.

The arrests raised the number of Palestinians detained since Friday to 280, of whom around three-quarters are members of the Islamist Hamas movement, a military statement said.

Israeli officials have said they want to make clear to Hamas that it will pay a high price for the abductions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was swift to praise the latest arrests, Reuters reported.

Source: Ahram online

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