Egypt accuses Turkey, Hamas of hurting Gaza ceasefire bid

Egypt proposed a permanent ceasefire plan on Tuesday, which was accepted by Israel, but rejected by Hamas

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Egypt's foreign minister accused Turkey and Hamas on Thursday of conspiring to undermine Cairo's efforts to reach a ceasefire between the Palestinian group and Israel in Gaza, Egypt's state news agency reported, according to Reuters.

"Had Hamas accepted the Egyptian initiative, at least 40 Palestinian souls would have been saved," MENA quoted Shukri as saying.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri made the accusation against Turkey and Hamas in a briefing with local newspaper editors, the state news agency MENA reported.

Egypt sees Hamas as a threat because it is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is supported by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan criticized Egypt and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday, calling him a despot because of Egypt’s position regarding the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, Egypt Independent reported on Friday.

He accused the North African country of conniving with Israel to exclude Hamas from a peace deal in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said. Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling and helicopter fire along the Gaza border.

Egypt had proposed a permanent ceasefire plan on Tuesday, which Israel accepted. But Hamas, saying its terms had been ignored, rejected it.

Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to lift border restrictions that have deepened economic hardship among Gaza's 1.8 million populace and caused a cash crunch in the movement, which has been unable to pay its employees for months.

Egypt accuses Hamas of supporting militant groups in the Sinai seeking to topple the Cairo government, an allegation it denies.

(With Reuters)