US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
The United States and France condemned the barrage of rocket attacks by terrorists in Gaza on southern communities in Israel, calling for a return to calm and an end to violence.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the rockets during a with opposition leader Tzipi Livni in New York, and asserted Israel's right to defend itself.
Livni thanked Clinton, saying "the international community must speaking out clearly, in one voice, against terror on the citizens of Israel's South."
US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US was "deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in southern Israel," which was hit by the largest number of rockets over the holiday weekend since another escalation in October of last year.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day" Nuland said via a written statement, adding that the US calls "on those responsible to take immediate action to stop these cowardly acts."
The French Foreign Ministry also condemned the spike in rocket attacks this past weekend, in which more than a hundred rockets landed in Israel causing damage to homes and rural property.
France is a concerned by the escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel, and expressed sympathy for civilian casualties, the French Foreign Ministry said in written statement.
The French consul general in Tel Aviv will visit Ashdod and Ashkelon on Sunday in order to show solidarity with local residents under the threat of attack, according to Army Radio.
At least 15 Palestinians were killed in consequent IDF strikes on terror cells operating in the Gaza Strip since Friday, including leaders of the terrorist Palestinian Resistance Committees.
Arab foreign minister meeting in Cairo condemned the IDF operations in the Gaza Strip over the weekend, Al Jazeera reported, which the IDF said was in direct response to rocket salvos fired on Israel's southern region.
The Arab League called IDF actions in Gaza a massacre, and called on the international community to pressure Israel into stopping its operations in the Strip, according to Al Jazeera.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr also decried the Israeli raids on Gazans the IDF accused of firing rockets towards Israel and planning terror attacks on Israeli citizens, calling for an end to Israeli military operations immediately, Al Jazeera reported.
Amr expressed "great alarm resulting from this Israeli aggression."