Rice: ‘Hard’ to avoid civilians


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Condoleezza Rice said it was "hard" for Israel to avoid civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip war.

"It is very difficult in a circumstance like Gaza, which is a very densely populated area," Rice said Friday when a reporter asked her whether Israel was meeting its humanitarian commitments. "I might note it’s also an area in which Hamas participates in activities like human shields and using buildings that are not designated as military buildings to hide their fighters. So it’s hard."

Israel launched major operations on Dec. 27, about two weeks after Hamas terrorists controlling Gaza ended a fragile cease-fire with a massive intensification of rocket attacks on Israel’s south. Over 850 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict; authorities say an estimated half are civilians, and most of those are children. Thirteen Israelis have died, including four civilians,

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