Israel defends 2nd day of pounding Gaza

Sun, 28 Dec 2008 16:57:54 GM, PRESS TV - Israel's ambassador to the UN defends the "right" for Tel Aviv to attack Gaza, as airstrikes on the strip continue for a second day.

Israeli officials say the military operation is aimed at taking out Hamas compounds throughout the coastal sliver. At least 300 people have been killed by the attacks, which started on Saturday.

IAF ground forces during Operation Cast Lead (IDF Spokesperson)

Israeli envoy to the UN Gabriela Shalev said Sunday that the Hamas movement had forced Tel Aviv to launch the military campaign on Gaza.

"Enough is enough. We had no choice but to go on a military operation and the only party to blame is the Hamas. Israel has been effecting its right to self defense," she told reporters Sunday.

The US blames Hamas for provoking Tel Aviv and has called on the movement to stop its rocket attacks on Israel "if the violence is to stop," said US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe in a statement on Saturday.

Ground crew prepare helicopter for operation (IAF)

On Sunday, the US blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate halt to the ongoing assaults on Gaza. The council, meanwhile, called for an end to all military activities in region.

When asked whether Israel would comply with the council's call, the Israeli envoy evaded the question by saying such decision would be a determinant of the action of the Palestinian movement.

"We will wait and see whether Hamas is going to abide," Shalev said.

Hamas has vowed to launch rocket strikes in retaliation to the attacks on Gaza. On Saturday, an Israeli man was killed by a Hamas rocket and four others were wounded.

The death toll in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, continues to rise, as the Israeli operations are still underway. So far, reports suggest that at least 300 people have been killed since the attacks started on Saturday.(MD/MMN)


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