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Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

Reaction in quotes: Gaza bombing

The world has been reacting to the massive Israeli bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which is said by Palestinian sources to have claimed some 280 lives.

POPE BENEDICT XVI

"The native land of Jesus cannot continue to be witness to so much bloodshed, repeating itself without end. I implore an end to the violence which must be denounced in all its forms and a restoration of the truce on the Gaza Strip.

"I call on the international community to do all it can to help the Israelis and Palestinians on this dead-end road ... and not to give in to the perverse logic of confrontation and violence but to favour the path of dialogue and negotiations."

SPOKESMAN FOR BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL

"The secretary general is deeply alarmed by today's heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel.

"[He] appeals for an immediate halt to all violence [and reiterates] previous calls for humanitarian supplies to be allowed into Gaza to aid the distressed civilian population."

STATEMENT BY US SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE

"The United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there.

"The ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected. The United States calls on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza."

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS

"I want to say very clearly that, yes, we talked to Hamas and the leaders of Hamas in Gaza and we spoke to them clearly and honestly, directly and indirectly, and through many parties, Arab and non-Arab.

"Now it's not important what problems existed between us. We called them and told them please, we ask you do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop so that we could have avoided what happened, and I wish that it had been avoided."

SPOKESMAN FOR JAVIER SOLANA, EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF

"We are very concerned at the events in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge everybody to exert maximum restraint."

BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE STATEMENT

"The only way to achieve lasting peace in Gaza is through peaceful means. Whilst we understand the Israeli government's obligation to protect its population we urge maximum restraint to avoid further civilian casualties.

"We also call on militants in the Gaza Strip to immediately cease all rocket attacks on Israel."

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

"Moscow considers it necessary to stop large-scale military action against Gaza, which has already led to major casualties and suffering among the civilian Palestinian population.

"At the same time, we call on the Hamas leadership to stop shelling Israeli territory."

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER

"All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world's pious people are obliged to defend the defenceless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible.

"Whoever is killed in this legitimate defence is considered a martyr."

AMR MOUSSA, ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL

"We are facing a continuing spectacle which has been carefully planned. So we have to expect that there will be many casualties. We face a major humanitarian catastrophe."

SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

"Syria is following with great anxiety the barbaric Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza... a horrific crime and terrorist act.

"Syria calls on the Arab nation and the international community to use all possible means to put pressure on Israel to immediately stop the aggression, allow the wounded to enter hospital and open all crossing points [to Gaza].

"Syria as president of the Arab League calls on Arab leaders to hold an emergency summit to assess the dangerous situation in Gaza."



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