White House: Israel has right to defend itself

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The White House won't comment on a possible ground invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel. But spokesman Gordon Johndroe says Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks from Hamas, and says the militant group must stop firing its missiles.

Johndroe says Israel needs to avoid civilian casualties, and that humanitarian aid into Gaza should continue.

Johndroe says President-elect Barack Obama is receiving the same intelligence reports on the Gaza violence as is President George W. Bush. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has spoken to Obama about the situation at least once in the last week.

Rice says the United States and key world allies are pushing hard for a "durable and sustainable" cease-fire in Gaza, but that there is no end in sight to the violence. The top U.S. diplomat says she's not planning an emergency visit to the region.

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