White House
White HouseFlash 90

The White House said Monday that Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas were to blame for the deaths of 52 Gazans killed during protests over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem.

"The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas," White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters.

"Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response," he said, adding: "Israel has the right to defend itself."