BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli leader blames Hamas for civilian deaths

Palestinians carry the dead body of a girl who was removed from under the rubble of a house, which witnesses said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike that killed at least nine members from the al-Ghol family, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

JERUSALEM: Israel's prime minister has defended the actions of Israel's military in the recent war in the Gaza Strip, saying the heavy civilian casualties were caused by Hamas.

Speaking to international journalists, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's intense bombardment of Gaza was a necessary response to Hamas attacks.

"It was justified. It was proportionate," he said.

Nearly 1,900 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian medics. Israel says some 900 Palestinian militants were among the dead.

Netanyahu said he regretted "every" civilian death, but that Hamas was responsible because it carried out attacks from civilian areas.

 

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