Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer on Thursday that, "We did all we could, in accord with our ethics and standards as well as our [Israeli] and international laws in order to prevent casualties. We regret every civilian who was affected, but this is a consequence of Hamas tactics."

The meeting took place at the
Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv where Ya'alon showed Maurer evidence that Hamas had used the civilian population of Gaza as human shields and that the terrorist organization held responsibility for the high death toll among Gaza noncombatants.

"Unfortunately in this sort of combat innocent civilians were killed on their side, and that is the result of Hamas's operational tactics," stated Ya'alon.

Ya'alon also said that Israel greatly respects the work of the Red Cross, especially while the operation in Gaza was still ongoing. "We did our utmost to avoid a humanitarian crisis [in Gaza] and cooperate with the Red Cross. We did everything to keep up that cooperation during the operation," he said.

With regards to whether cease-fire talks in Cairo would bring about a change in the situation, Ya'alon stated,
"We are trying to maintain a cease-fire and calm the situation, but we do not know what will come of the talks taking place in Egypt."

The meeting came after Maurer met with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday, saying that innocent people in Israel and Gaza have suffered as a result of the conflict.

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