CAIRO, Egypt – Egypt's president demanded Israel immediately end its military operations in the Gaza Strip and withdraw its forces.
Hosni Mubarak's call came as the Israel's Security Cabinet approved a unilateral cease-fire that would keep its soldiers in Gaza. Earlier in the day, Hamas leaders maintained that fighting with Israel would continue if their demands for an Israeli withdrawal were not met.
Egypt has been a key interlocutor in the weeks of negotiation to bring about an end to Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip to end Hamas rocket fire, which has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians.
"I demand Israel today to stop its military operations immediately. I demand from its leaders an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and I demand from them a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the strip," he said.
Unlike the widespread condemnation of Israel elsewhere in the Arab world, the Egyptian government has blamed Hamas for provoking the fighting and has worked closely with Israeli officials on the crisis.
Egypt put forward a proposal for a temporary cease-fire followed by a more lasting agreement to end arms smuggling to Hamas and open the crossings into the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has been adamant, however, that any international force monitoring the borders or the Gaza Strip could not be based on Egyptian territory.
"Egypt will never accept any foreign presence of monitors on its land. I say this is a red line I have not and will not allow to be crossed," he said.