Cairo: Egypt has condemned the Israeli "escalation" on the Gaza Strip after Tel Aviv launched its first massive ground offensive in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.
Egypt also asked the two sides to agree on a plan to reach a truce and to accept its initiative for a ceasefire immediately and unconditionally.
Israel last night launched the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip after 10 days of bombardment from the air and sea killed nearly 260 Palestinians but failed to stop the militants` rocket attacks on the Jewish state.
The ground operation came after Israel`s earlier declaration of a six-hour truce proposed by the UN on Wednesday. However, Israel continued its strikes on Gaza yesterday, killing five persons including an infant.
Israel withdrew ground troops from Gaza in September 2005, and last mounted a major ground operation in 2009.
The 10-day long conflict has killed 260 Palestinians and two Israelis.
Meanwhile, Egyptian ambassador to Palestine Wael Nasr el-din Atiya said that Egypt is still making its efforts and contacts to bring calm to the region.
He asked all Egyptians who want to return home to head to Rafah crossing and all measures will be facilitated, according to Youm7 website.