AL-SARSOURIYA Egypt (Reuters) – A third of the houses on the main street of this Bedouin town near Egypt’s border with Gaza look derelict, but inside they buzz with the activity of tunnel smugglers scrambling to survive a security crackdown by the Egyptian army.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has asked Russia to supply Egypt with high-tech fighter jets, attack helicopters, and anti-tank missile systems, according to regional reports.
Secretary of State John Kerry offered numerous times to fly to Cairo or Jerusalem to assist in cease-fire negotiations but was told that the sides “didn’t need American mediation,” according to an account of events by Haaretz.
JERUSALEM—Hamas has rejected a ceasefire negotiated by the Egyptian government and agreed to by Israel that was to have gone into effect at 9 A.M. this morning.
Dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip were launched into Israel after 9 A.M. in defiance of the Egyptian government, which had proposed the cease-fire. Israel refrained from responding for four-and-a-half hours, apparently to give time to Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to reassess. Planes then resumed attacks on rocket launch sites.
A U.S. senator is blocking the delivery of 10 U.S. Apache attack helicopters urgently sought by the Egyptian government since last spring to battle al Qaeda terrorists in the Sinai peninsula.
Egypt has extended an invitation to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to attend the inauguration of newly installed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, according to Reuters.
The Obama administration has reversed course and will send Egypt new Apache attack helicopters that were urgently requested by Cairo in March to counter the growing threat from al Qaeda terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.
The Israeli Navy foiled an attempt to smuggle explosives on Palestinian boats from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, Israel Hayom reports.