Egypt is seeking to restore its regional clout by mediating between Israel and Hamas to douse the week-long conflict in Gaza that has cost more than 200 lives.
In 2014, Egypt brokered a fragile ceasefire after a devastating weeks-long war between arch-foes Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group which rules the densely populated Palestinian enclave.
In the latest conflict, which entered its second week Monday, Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire from Gaza have killed over 200 Palestinians and 10 people in Israel, officials on the two sides say. Hundreds more have been wounded.
The escalation has embarrassed Gulf states UAE and Bahrain which normalised diplomatic ties with Israel last year, putting Cairo in the diplomatic driving seat.
“In a region where normalising states are expanding their own relations with Israel, Egypt… has a vested interest utilising its geographic proximity to Gaza to leverage its diplomatic power,” said Tareq Baconi, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.