Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held phone talks on Saturday during which they discussed regional and international efforts to contain the ongoing deadly Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip.
“The call touched on consultation and coordination regarding efforts to stop the current escalation in the Gaza Strip between the Palestinians and Israelis,” said the Egyptian presidency in a statement.
Sisi and Macron expressed “deep concern” over the dangerous deterioration of the situation, stressing the need for intensified international and regional efforts to stop the ongoing violence.
The Egyptian president noted that Egypt has extensively contacted the Israeli and Palestinian sides as well as international and regional parties to contain the current escalation, according to the statement.
Sisi also warned that further violence and escalation might drag the region into “a vicious circle of tension” and undermine regional stability and security.
Earlier on Saturday, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed at least 232 people and injured 1,697, according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry.
The Israeli raids followed an earlier rocket attack by the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza. Israeli medical sources said that the new round of conflict between the two sides left at least 150 Israelis dead.
Hamas also held some Israeli civilians and soldiers as hostages, as confirmed by Israeli officials.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Saturday that Israel was “in a state of war” and ordered a full mobilization of reserves.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held an emergency meeting with senior officials, emphasizing the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves against Israeli forces and settlers.
Engaged in a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, Egypt has for years been a key regional peacemaker in the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.