Abbas blames Hamas as Gaza death toll nears 300
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas on Sunday for triggering Israel's deadly raids on Gaza Strip by not extending a six-month calm with the Jewish state. Abbas said maintaining the calm could have helped the Palestinians avoid the Israeli raids, which have killed more than 270 people in Gaza in the past two days.
"We talked to them (Hamas) and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop, so that we could have avoided what happened," he said in Cairo.
Abbas, speaking after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said, according to Reuters, the priority was to end the bloodshed and restore the calm.
On his part, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt said the Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Sunday for the second day in a row to receive a complaint about Israeli military operations. "We object to this and we demand a stop and that the Israeli army does not carry out a new invasion," he said.
The Egyptian minister said a calm would be the aim of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday. "Priority is the Arab measures at the level of foreign ministers ... then we can look at a later phase, but we don't imagine moving without proper preparation for such a summit. First we have to look at the ceasefire measures," he noted.