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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
World condemns Gaza attack
Civilians search the rubble of their houses in Gaza following the attack
Many countries questioned the timing of the attack
The international community has been swift to condemn an air strike by Israeli military forces on a residential complex in Gaza City which killed a Hamas military leader and 14 other people.


White House spokesman Ari Fleischer

"The president has said before Israel has to be mindful of the consequences of its actions to preserve the path to peace and the president believes this heavy-handed action does not contribute to peace."


Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko

"Russia is urging the conflicting parties to show restraint and self-control and avoid the use of force that may enable the extremists to take the initiative and once again push the situation into the abyss of confrontation and mutual enmity."


United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

"Israel has the legal and moral responsibility to take all measures to avoid the loss of innocent life; it clearly failed to do so in using a missile against an apartment building."


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson

"Under international human rights and humanitarian law the reckless killing of civilians is absolutely prohibited, regardless of the military significance of the target being attacked.

"Israel must not abandon its core standards and values, even in the face of the serious security threat to its own civilian population. The current cycle of savagery must end."


European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana

"This extra-judicial killing operation, which targeted a densely populated area, comes at a time when both Israeli and Palestinians were working very seriously to curb violence and restore co-operative security arrangements.

"The European Union understands the right of Israel to ensure security and to stop the acts of terrorism against its citizens, but this kind of operation is not conducive towards peace and reconciliation."


Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher

"What happened yesterday [Monday] in Gaza is a war crime.

"Bombarding a civilian building, it cannot be without knowing previously that the victims would be civilians."


Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal

"We believe the biggest loser is the Israeli people because history will record these atrocities against them.

"We not only condemn [the attack] but ask for tough measures against Israel and its crimes against the Palestinian people."


UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

"While Israel is entitled to take steps to protect itself from terrorist attack, such steps should be neither disproportionate nor excessive."


China foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan

"China is shocked and strongly condemns the Israeli air attack on a Palestinian neighbourhood in Gaza City that caused large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries."


Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Adwan

"The Jordanian Government condemns this attack and casts doubt over its timing, especially [as] it coincided with new signs for a peaceful settlement and Arab and international agreement to end the escalation.

"The Israeli Government [must] heed the will of the international community to achieve peace instead of pursuing its aggression against the Palestinian people."


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23 Jul 02 | Middle East
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