Egypt leading mediation effort after Israel raids Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
The brutal raid during Ramadan saw hundreds wounded and arrested at the third-holiest site in Islam, with Israeli forces breaking worshippers' bones with rifle butts and batons, The New Arab's Arabic sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
The attack was met with nine rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, with Israeli forces bombing and shelling the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Amid fears of a serious armed escalation, Cairo, which has slammed the Al-Aqsa raid, has been leading mediation between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel since midnight.
Egyptian intelligence opened lines of communication with leaders from Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, and the Islamic Jihad movement, another major armed group in the enclave, to prevent a broad armed confrontation.
Egyptian sources said the factions' leaders confirmed their readiness for an escalation unless the violations and incursions at Al-Aqsa are stopped.
Cairo has also contacted senior Israeli security officials in a bid to end Israel's inflammatory actions in Jerusalem and the holy compound.
The Egyptians have also reached out to US officials involved in following up on the implementation of recent agreements reached at a summit in Sharm El-Sheikh. That five-way meeting was attended by the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the United States.
The Americans have been asked to put pressure on Israel to prevent them from launching more attacks against worshippers at Al-Aqsa and maintain a "low-profile" security policy during Ramadan, a month that often sees major escalations.
The Egyptian sources also said the Islamic Jihad leadership categorically refused to commit to an escalation or fire rockets, stressing that promises made from one side without the Israelis would be useless.
Warning sirens sounded in areas of Israel close to Gaza after rockets were launched following the Al-Aqsa raid.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Resistance Committee, smaller Palestinian groups, said they were behind the rockets.
The escalation at Al-Aqsa and in Gaza raises concern of a repeat of May 2021, when similar circumstances led to a deadly 11-day Israeli bombing campaign on the enclave that killed more than 250 Palestinians.