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US Blames Bloodshed on Hamas
CRAWFORD, Texas — While international condemnation for the Israeli onslaught poured in from across the globe, the US, Israel's strategic ally, blamed the killing of more than 225 Palestinians on Hamas.
"The US strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.
"The cease-fire should be restored immediately," she said.
Some 60 Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the overcrowded territory of 1.5 million people, killing at least 225 people in the bloodiest one-day death toll in 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Black smoke billowed over Gaza City, where the dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground after Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds, including two where graduation ceremonies were held for new recruits.
At the main Gaza City graduation ceremony, uniformed bodies lay in a pile and the wounded writhed in pain.
Some rescue workers beat their heads and shouted "God is greatest". One badly wounded man quietly recited verses from the Qur'an.
Saturday, December 27, 2008 : White House urges Palestinians to stop rocket attacks as others condemn Israeli raids.
The White House has said that Hamas "thugs" were responsible for provoking the Israeli air raids that killed and injured hundreds of people in the Gaza Strip.
"These people [Hamas] are nothing but thugs, and so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas," he said.
Johndroe said the US wanted to see the six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, which ended on December 19, restored, but that this could only be done if Palestinian fighters end their missile attacks on Israel.