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      Egypt: 'We Kept Israel Out of Gaza''

      Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority says Cairo stopped Israel from launching a major military incursion into Gaza amid attacks.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 10/31/2011, 7:14 PM

      Egyptian officials claim they have prevented Israel from launching a major military incursion into Gaza as rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas-run enclave sharply rose over the weekend.

      "Egypt succeeded in halting the ongoing tit-for-tat attacks across the border," Yasser Othman, Cairo's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, told the PA's semi-official Maan News on Monday.

      Othman said Egyptian efforts would continue until a complete truce is reached in Gaza and Israeli violations stop, adding that Egypt’s ambassador to Israel has been contacted by Israeli officials on a daily basis in order to reach a complete ceasefire.

      Othman applauded the 'Palestinian' terror factions for "not being swayed by Israel's provocative acts."

      Twice on Sunday, Egyptian-brokered truces were announced by officials in Cairo and Gaza's terror factions. Both were rejected by Israel.

      “There is no ceasefire, there are no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.

      In recent years it has become standard operating procedure for terror factions in Gaza to fire rockets and mortars into Israel and then unilaterally declare a ceasefire in the hopes of avoiding retaliation. Egypt's calling Israel's defensive or retaliatory actions "provocative acts" is also standard operating procedure.

      Over the weekend some 39 rockets and mortars exploded in various locations throughout southern Israel, killing a 56-year-old man and wounding 16 other civilians, including a young girl and a baby. Another 14 people were hospitalized for trauma reactions and severe anxiety attacks, as well.

      In response, the IDF has launched a series of airstrikes have killed some 12 terrorists in three days. 

      Amid the increased rocket-fire there has been an outcry from Israeli lawmakers, senior officials, and security experts to enter Gaza and dismantle the terror infrastructure there. Among those calling for a major military incursion into Gaza are three former IDF chiefs of staff: Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz, and Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz (ret).

      On Monday, at the opening of the Knesset season, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel's strategic posture had to incorporate an offensive element, using the biblical expression, "he who harms us, his blood is on his own head."