A Palestinian man looks at a neighboring house which witnesses said was damaged in an Israeli airstrike that killed two children, in the northern Gaza Strip July 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
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Britain is "gravely concerned" by the high number of civilian casualties resulting from Israel's military operation in Gaza, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday.Speaking on his first official visit to the region since taking over as Britain's top diplomat, Hammond said London would do everything it could to help broker a quick end to the hostilities which have so far claimed the lives of more than 745 Palestinians in Gaza, 34 Israelis, mainly soldiers, and a Thai worker. At a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hammond expressed Britain's support for Israel's right to self-defense, acknowledging that the current fighting was caused by Hamas firing rockets "indiscriminately" at Israeli towns and cities. Netanyahu said Israel was doing everything it could to minimize casualties, pinning the blame on Hamas for using civilians as "human shields".
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