Cairo: Egypt`s powerful Muslim Brotherhood sharply criticised Israeli leaders Wednesday over airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, accusing them of heating up the conflict to score political points ahead of elections.
The latest round of violence began Saturday, with rocket attacks from Gaza militants and Israeli airstrikes that killed seven Palestinians.
More than 100 rockets have exploded in Israel since the weekend. The exchanges appeared to die down today.
Also, Israeli tanks struck a Syrian artillery launcher Monday after a mortar shell flew into Israel-held territory, fueling concerns that Israel could be dragged into the Syrian civil war.
In its statement, the Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party referred to Israel as a "Zionist occupier" and a "racist state," placing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the "fringes" of the "far right."
"In the framework of elections that Israel is witnessing is a recent military escalation against occupied Gaza and the occupied Golan Heights," the statement said. Israel has set parliamentary elections for January 22.
The Brotherhood`s party called on Arab and Muslim governments "to stop the Zionist war that is operating under electoral calculations for personal gain far from humanitarian calculations for peace, security and stability."
The Muslim Brotherhood itself released a separate statement shortly after its party`s, sharpening the criticism and accusing Israel of following a policy that tries to appear opposite itself "and God knows they are liars."
"The killing of tens of our innocent Palestinian brothers is part of a link in a chain of oppression and Judaisation that seeks to impose itself on the ground, and that will never materialise with God`s will," it said.
The harsh pronouncements followed a small demonstration in Cairo yesterday and open letter signed by several liberal parties and revolutionary groups denouncing the Israeli strikes on Gaza.