MOSCOW, July 26 (RIA Novosti) – Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri called for a week-long humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr slated for July 28, Reuters reported Friday.
"We call for the humanitarian ceasefire ... at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr for a period of 7 days," Shukri said speaking at a press conference in Cairo.
Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also urged the warring parties to temporarily halt military actions for humanitarian purposes.
The call by both Shukri and Ban was echoed by US Secretary of State John Kerry who was also attending the press conference. Kerry added that he was planning to visit Paris on Saturday to push ahead with efforts to seek a ceasefire in Gaza.
On Friday, the Israeli Security Cabinet turned down a US-brokered proposal on a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The proposal initiated by Kerry called for a week-long truce, during which the warring sides through mediators could agree on the conditions of a longer-lasting deal. According to Israeli media, the plan was rejected mainly because it would mean Israel would have to cut short its efforts to destroy underground tunnels dug by Hamas rebels to sneak into Israel.
Israel has been conducting its military operation in the Gaza Strip targeting the Hamas movement and its allied groups of Palestinian rebels since July 7.
Late July 17, following days of shelling and aerial bombardment the Israeli military moved to a ground offensive largely aimed at demolishing the tunnels.
According to the recent reports, over 800 Palestinians have already died and more than 5,000 injured as the conflict reached its 18th day. The Israeli side has lost about 40 people.