Netanyahu says Hamas responsible for Palestinian casualties
Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 01:40
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the militant group Hamas bears ''complete responsibility'' for what he described as ''accidental'' civilian deaths in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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STORY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday (July 13) placed full responsibility of civilian deaths from Israeli airstrikes against Gaza on the militant group Hamas.
Netanyahu told the CBS news program Face the Nation that civilian casualties occur because Hamas embeds its rocket launchers in "homes, hospitals, next to kindergartens, [and] mosques."
"They're using their civilians to protest their missiles so naturally they're responsible for all of the civilian deaths that occur accidentally," Netanyahu said. "We're sorry for any accidental civilian deaths but it's the Hamas that bears complete responsibility for such civilian casualties."
Sunday was day six of an Israeli offensive on Gaza that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 160 people.
Militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip kept up rockets salvoes deep into the Jewish state and the worst bout of Israel-Palestinian bloodshed in two years showed no signs of abating, and Western foreign ministers meeting on Sunday said a ceasefire was an urgent priority.
Netanyahu said during his CBS interview that he could hear the air raid sirens warning of rocket attacks in the background.
"I want your audience to imagine what it would be like if all the cities of the United States - I'm not just talking about New York and Washington - I'm talking about all the cities from the east coast to Colorado, 80 percent of the population, would be in bomb shelters…That's what we're experiencing right now as we speak," Netanyahu said.
Hostilities along the Israel-Gaza frontier first intensified last month after Israeli forces arrested hundreds of Hamas activists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank following the abduction there of three Jewish teenagers who were later found killed. A Palestinian youth was then killed in Jerusalem in a suspected revenge attack by Israelis.
Despite intensified Israeli military action - which included a commando raid overnight in what was Israel's first reported ground action in Gaza during the current fighting - militants continued to launch rocket after rocket across the border.
No one has been killed by the more than 800 rockets the Israeli military said has been fired by Palestinians since the offensive began.
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