US condemns Hamas, voices support for Israel

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is giving full-throttled support to Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, State Department spokesman Mark Toner denounces Hamas militants and others in Gaza for a barrage of rocket fire into southern Israel.

And he says the U.S. backs Israel’s right to self-defense.

The increased rocket fire from Gaza into Israel sparked on Wednesday the heaviest Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory in four years. Hamas’ military commander was killed. Gaza’s health minister said 10 people died, including two young children.

Israel’s military said the attack was the beginning of a major offensive.

The State Department’s Toner urged Israel to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

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