Hamas to blame for violence: US

Last Updated: Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 00:00

Crawford (Texas), Dec 27: The United States blamed
Hamas "thugs" for provoking bloody Israeli strikes on the
Gaza Strip and said they would end when the Islamist movement
halts its rocket fire on the Jewish state.

"If Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel, then Israel
would not have a need for strikes in Gaza," White House
spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters yesterday.

"What we`ve got to see is Hamas stop firing rockets into
Israel."

US President George W Bush, on his Texas ranch to usher
in 2009, discussed the fighting with Saudi King Abdullah, US
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, said Johndroe.

"The United States is deeply concerned about the
escalating violence in Gaza," Rice said in a statement urging
"all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the
urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza."

"We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar
attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking
the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there. The
ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected,"
she said.

She was referring to a six-month truce mediated by Egypt,
which ended on December 19, when Hamas refused to renew it.

Johndroe urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties and
expressed concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza,
but pinned the responsibility for ending the fighting entirely
on Hamas.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 00:00
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