January 19, 2009 / 1:27 PM / 9 years ago

Egypt's Mubarak: Hamas invited Israeli offensive

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Egypt’s president accused Hamas on Monday of inviting Israel’s three-week offensive against Gaza by not extending their ceasefire when it expired last month.

“You all know that efforts Egypt had undertaken to extend the ceasefire and our warnings that a refusal by factions to extend it was an open invitation to Israeli aggression,” Hosni Mubarak told a summit of Arab leaders in Kuwait.

He said Egypt would continue its efforts to achieve a reconciliation between Palestinians. “Without it (Palestinian unity) no stability will be realized for Gaza and no rebuilding and no end for its embargo,” Mubarak said.

Hamas, the Islamist militant group which won 2006 parliamentary elections, has ruled Gaza since ousting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction in 2007. Fatah still holds sway in the occupied West Bank.

The Arab summit in Kuwait, initially meant to focus on the economy, has been overshadowed by Israel’s offensive against Gaza, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and was suspended on Sunday.

“We will make every possible attempt (but) if the factions do not respond to our efforts, then we tell them God helps those who help themselves,” Mubarak said.

Mubarak said that resisting occupation, while legitimate, should also take into account both gains and losses.

Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Rania El Gamal, editing by Tim Pearce

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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