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Middle East

Netanyahu: Israel will do whatever it takes to restore calm in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a cabinet meeting at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)

WASHINGTON: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will take "whatever action is necessary" to halt Hamas cross-border rocket attacks from Gaza and restore calm but insisted his forces were doing their utmost to avoid civilian casualties there.

"We try to target military targets and unfortunately there are civilian casualties which we regret and we don't seek," Netanyahu told CNN shortly after an Israeli attack on a Gaza neighborhood killed at least 62 Palestinians.

He accused Hamas of deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and of using Gaza residents as "human shields." Asked how long it would take Israel to complete an operation it says is intended to destroy Hamas weapons tunnels, Netanyahu said it was being done "fairly quickly," but gave no time frame.

Asked whether Israel intends to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, he said: "Nobody wants to go to excessive military lengths."

 

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