EU and Egypt push for ceasefire as Israel plans ground operation in Rafah

European and Egyptian leaders have expressed deep concern over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intention to launch a military ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and leaders from five EU members, including Italy and Greece, visited the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday for talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

At a news conference after the talks, Sisi said that he agreed with the European leaders on the categorical rejection of an Israeli military operation in Rafah. He also said the operation will only exacerbate the already exacerbated humanitarian crisis there.

Von der Leyen said that the leaders are all very concerned about the risks that a full-scale offensive in Rafah would have on the vulnerable civilian population.
She added that this needs to be avoided at all costs.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also expressed grave concern about the situation in Gaza, especially ahead of a possible ground invasion in Rafah.

He said the humanitarian situation in Gaza is simply unacceptable, and stressed the need to open all avenues for humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of people in Gaza.