US, UK condemn Hamas rocket attacks on Jerusalem

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The United States on Monday condemned rocket attacks by Hamas as an “unacceptable escalation” and defended Israel’s military response, while renewing calls for calm in Jerusalem.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours. This is an unacceptable escalation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

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“We also recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory,” he said.

Britain condemned the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and other locations within Israel, calling for “immediate de-escalation on all sides.”

“The UK condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted.

“We need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and end to targeting of civilian populations.”

Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza on Monday after Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the crowded territory, fired rockets in response to unrest at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The United States praised Israel’s decision to call off a flashpoint march to celebrate the 1967 capture of east Jerusalem, where the Jewish state has been poised to evict Palestinians from their homes.

The United States over the weekend sought to ease tensions, including through a call by President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, to his Israeli counterpart.

“We welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations,” Price said.

“It is critical for all sides to ensure calm and de-escalate tensions and avoid violent confrontations.”

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