Hamas decision to renew rocket fire puts Gazans at risk — State Department

WASHINGTON – The State Department condemns the renewal of Hamas rocket fire against Israel Friday afternoon while reasserting Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at the daily briefing that “we need to be very clear about what happened here,” explaining that “Israel was in a position in which it appeared ready to extend the cease fire” and Hamas chose to resume launching rockets.

Harf also criticized Hamas for making what she termed “maximalist demands” during the Cairo talks that tried to secure a continuation of the three-day-long ceasefire.

During the daily press briefing, Harf said that she was not familiar with reports that the Egyptians had placed the Hamas delegation under house arrest, but reiterated that the State Department holds Hamas responsible for the renewal of violence.

“What Hamas did today in its decision to resume rocket fire puts the citizens of Gaza under greater risk,” Harf warned.

Responding to questions regarding the US’s unusually understated role during the Cairo talks, Harf said that the US delegation has been “monitoring progress”. As she did Thursday, Harf attributed the limited American role to the fact that US officials will not negotiate with representatives of Hamas, a recognized terror organization.

— Rebecca Shimoni Stoil

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