Obama 311 reuters.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama harshly condemned the bomb attack in Jerusalem Wednesday and expressed his condolences for Palestinians killed in Gaza the day before.
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"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing in Jerusalem today, as well as the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in recent days,” Obama declared in a statement.
“Together with the American people, I offer my deepest condolences for those
injured or killed.”
Obama stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and
urged those responsible to desist.
“There is never any possible
justification for terrorism,” he said. “The United States calls on the groups
responsible to end these attacks at once and we underscore that Israel, like all
nations, has a right to selfdefense.”
Obama continued by noting the death
of Palestinian civilians Tuesday, saying “we also express our deepest
condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza
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He emphasized “the importance of calm” and urged all parties
“to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian
In New York, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Meron
Reuben wrote letters to UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon and the Security Council
expressing his “grave concern” in the face of the bombing attack near the
Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
“Clearly intended to harm innocent
civilians, this appalling and criminal attack also injured more than 40 people,
according to initial reports, leaving three people in critical condition and
five people in serious condition,” Reuben wrote, noting that the attack followed
a “marked increase” in terror activity deliberately targeting Israeli civilians
by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
Reuben also noted that
earlier in the day, two Grad-type Katyusha rockets were fired by Palestinian
terrorists at Beersheba, with one landing in the middle of a residential area in
the city, injuring one man and damaging nearby buildings, including a
Also on Wednesday, Reuben wrote, a Katyusha rocket was fired
close to Ashdod, and eight mortars were fired into the Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev
Noting that the past week has seen 63 mortar shells
and four rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel, Reuben called it “an
unprecedented increase in the projectile fire emanating from the Gaza Strip
since the end of Operation Cast Lead in 2009.”
As Reuben has noted in six
other letters to the secretarygeneral and Security Council, “such attacks
emanating from the Gaza Strip constitute a clear violation of international law
and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness.
“Israel holds the
Hamas terrorist organization – the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip – fully
responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip,” Reuben
“In response to the relentless attacks against it, Israel has
exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as
appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.
Israel will also do all in its power to bring to justice the terrorists that
committed the horrific crimes against its citizens today in
The attempt to transfer weaponry from Iran to terrorist
organizations in the Gaza Strip through Syria via the ship Victoria, Reuben
wrote, is “a blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions,
including Security Council resolution 1860 –– and represents only the tip of the
iceberg of these two countries’ illegal efforts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza
“In view of these troubling developments, Israel expects the
Security Council, the Secretary- General, and the international community to
condemn all of these attacks in very clear terms and send a firm message to
these terrorists and their patrons, which seek to escalate conflict,” Reuben
wrote, adding that the international community and Security Council should
devote more attention to prevention of arms smuggling into the Gaza
“Unfortunately, this important issue – an integral part of
Security Council resolution 1860 – does not receive the appropriate attention
that it deserves,” Reuben concluded.
In London, Foreign Secretary William
Hague said: “This appears to have been a callous and disgusting act of terrorism
directed against innocent civilians, which I condemn unreservedly.
would like to express the UK’s unwavering support for the people of Israel in
the face of such horrific acts.”Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this
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