CAIRO -- Egypt asked the United States on Thursday to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, warning that the violence could spiral "out of control," the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Egypt also announced that its prime minister would travel to Gaza on Friday, an additional sign that the country's Islamist-led government is under pressure from across the region to help find an end to the conflict.
Egypt "will stand with all of its resources to end this aggression and to stop the recurring killing and bloodshed of Palestinians," President Mohamed Morsi said on national television. "The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression and that it can only negatively affect the stability and safety of the region."
PHOTOS: Israeli forces kill Hamas' military chief
Israel launched airstrikes Wednesday to stop militant factions in Gaza from firing rockets and mortar rounds into communities in southern Israel. The initial Israeli attacks killed Ahmed Jabari, military chief of Gaza's ruling Hamas organization.
Three Israelis and 15 Palestinians were killed in the first two days of clashes.
Prime Minister Hesham Kandil will lead a delegation to Gaza on Friday, according to the state run news agency. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr spoke with Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton late Wednesday, warning that the violence could escalate and asking the U.S. to "use what contacts it has with Israel."
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that President Obama had spoken with both Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, reiterating Israel's right to defend itself against attack but urging the Israelis to avoid civilian casualties.
Immediately after the attacks began Wednesday, protesters rallied in Egypt's capital and dozens of activists called for the country to end ties with Israel. Protests resumed near the Arab League offices in Cairo on Thursday morning demanding an end to the attacks on Gaza.
A rally to support the Palestinians was called for Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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