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Olmert defends Gaza operation

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Olmert defends Gaza operation


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected EU criticism of his army’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli leader said the operation would carry on indefinitely, and argued that any other country would respond to Palestinian missile attacks in the same way.

“I don’t know any democratic government in the world – one, one – those who support us and those who preach to us- that would have sat and done nothing when a thousand missiles are shot at their innocent civilians in the heart of their country. I can imagine that some of those countries would have done a lot more,” he said.

Israeli wants to rescue a soldier captured by Palestinians and prevent rockets being fired from Gaza into its territory.

The exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said his followers were ready to swap the corporal for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails – an offer Olmert has rejected.

At least 52 Palestinians have been reported killed since the Israeli operation began.

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