Israel defends 'Operation Cast Lead'

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Jerusalem, July 31(ANI): A 160-page government report has defended Israeli actions during 'Operation Cast Lead'- which had killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, and has rejected all the charges one by one, attributing excessive damage and casualties to understandable wartime mistakes.

The report states that Israel is investigating about 100 complaints and has opened 13 criminal inquiries, The Jerusalem Post reports.

"Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas' almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks," the report's executive summary said.

The report also highlighted that 12,000 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel between 2000 and 2008, including nearly 3,000 in 2008 alone.

"Under international law, Israel had every right to use military force to defend its civilians," the report added.

The report further highlighted that one million Israelis were threatened by Hamas rockets and said that the operation was a "necessary and proportionate" response to the terror that Hamas was spreading.

It is said that the report is an attempt to answer charges from Palestinians, the UN and human rights groups which accuses Israeli forces of committing war crimes and violating international law during the three-week operation.

Charges include indiscriminate and intentional firing that killed civilians and destroyed property during 'Operation Cast Lead', which began on December 27, 2008, when Israel launched a military attack on the Gaza Strip.

During the operation -Israeli warplanes, tanks and artillery- had destroyed numerous Palestinian government buildings and thousands of apartments, houses, businesses and factories. (ANI)

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