The State Department reacted Thursday to the latest round of rocket launches by terrorist group Hamas in Gaza and retaliatory airstrikes from Israel, reiterating America's support for Israel's right to self-defense.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked for reaction to the launch of a long-range missile by Hamas into Israel, which then led to Israeli airstrikes against what Israel said was a Hamas headquarters. Nauert first said the State Department was fully monitoring the situation in Israel before reaffirming the United States' support of Israel's self-defense.
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"It's a very concerning situation that is taking place in Gaza. Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence," Nauert said. "We've seen reports that 180 or so rocket attacks have taken place, shot from Gaza into Israel and we fully support Israel's right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature."
The reporter at the briefing who was questioning Nauert blamed Israel for initiating the strikes, but she responded by saying ultimate responsibility for violence in Gaza falls on the shoulders of Hamas.
"Let's not forget that Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza," Nauert said. "It's a tremendous concern of ours."
This summer has seen much unrest in Gaza, which has seen violence and rioting instigated by Hamas. Militants have launched kites with explosives toward Israeli civilians and farm fields, and they have attempted to break through border barriers.