US President Barack Obama sympathizes with the people of Gaza, he told journalists in Washington on Wednesday, but reserves no such sympathy for its "extraordinarily irresponsible" Hamas government.

"I think it is important to remember that Hamas acts extraordinarily irresponsibly," Obama said, "putting civilians at risk" with its taunts against Israel, and its placement of rocket launchers in civilian areas during conflict with the Jewish state.

"I have said from the beginning that no country would tolerate rockets being launched into their cities," he continued. "And as a consequence, I have consistently defended Israel's right to defend itself, and that includes doing what it needs to do."


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