Egypt's leader criticises Israel for air strikes


Egypt’s Islamist president vowed to work to stop Israel’s campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, calling it an “unacceptable aggression” and ordering his prime minister to travel to the territory in a show of support.

Today, the Egyptian prime minister, Hisham Kandil, and a number of other Egyptian ministers plan to visit Gaza in a show of support, according to news channel Al Arabiya. However, despite president Mohammed Morsi’s seemingly tough response, his tone was low key.

“The Israelis must realise that this aggression is unacceptable and would only lead to instability in the region and would negatively and greatly impact the security of the region,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood, spiritual mentor of Hamas, meanwhile called for a “day of rage” in Arab capitals today.

In Lebanon, the Iranian- backed Shia militia Hizbullah denounced Israel’s strikes on Gaza as “criminal aggression” and called on Arab states to “stop the genocide”.

On Wednesday, Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel after Israel launched its campaign of airstrikes and shelling in Gaza, which has killed 15 Palestinians and wounded more than 100, in retaliation for rocket attacks by Gaza militants against Israel. The recall was a step taken in the past by Mr Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, during major crises with Israel.

“The people of Egypt and its government stand with all its capabilities to stop this aggression to prevent the bloodshed and killing of Palestinians,” President Morsi said in the televised comments, vowing to stand with Gazans “until we stop this aggression on them”.

Mr Morsi and US president Barack Obama spoke yesterday. “Our talk centred on how this aggression must stop and not be repeated and how peace and security should be achieved for everyone without aggression.”

Egyptian foreign minister Mohammed Kamel Amr also spoke with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton late on Wednesday, asking for “immediate US intervention to stop the Israeli aggression”, the foreign ministry said.

– (Agencies)