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Lapid: Hamas is Responsible for Children's Deaths

Israel is doing everything in its power to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians in airstrikes, says Finance Minister.
By Ido Ben Porat
First Publish: 7/17/2014, 2:45 AM

Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that it was Hamas, whose terrorists regularly uses civilians as human shields, that was responsible for the deaths of children in Gaza.

"Unlike previous times, the world understands that Hamas is to blame for these unfortunate and terrible deaths, and that is why we still have a wide international credit to continue to operate in Gaza and to expand the operation if we have to,” he told Channel 2 News, referring to the deaths of four children in an Israeli airstrike earlier on Wednesday.

“Hamas uses these children as human shields, Israel is doing all it can to prevent such tragedies, but we are at war," Lapid emphasized. "They are also shooting at our children."

He added that Hamas has suffered a severe blow over the last nine days, since Operation Protective Edge began.

"1,800 attacks in nine days, 100 attacks this morning. Including tunnels, rocket launchers and homes," said Lapid.

IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz said on Wednesday that the deaths of the four children were the result of Hamas using civilians as human shields. 

"Hamas is hiding among civilians targets," Almoz told Channel 2."Hamas continues to make cynical use of civilian casualties and we will continue to operate within a civilian environment." 

"As demonstrated numerous times in recent days, the IDF has no intention to harm civilians caught in the reality of fighting between Israel and Hamas," he continued. 

The IDF later issued a statement in which it said the deaths were the "tragic outcome" of an Israeli strike targeting Hamas terrorists.

"Based on preliminary results the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives," the statement said. "The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome."

During the current escalation, Hamas has openly boasted about the "success" of its strategy of using civilians as human shields, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.

Hamas has in the past urged Gazans to ignore warnings from the IDF about upcoming strikes, in remarks caught both on Hamas-sponsored television and on the radar of international media outlets.