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Netanyahu says Israel’s bombing of Gaza a necessary response

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister has defended the actions of Israel’s military in the recent war in the Gaza Strip, saying the heavy civilian casualties were caused by Hamas.

Speaking to international journalists, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s intense bombardment of Gaza was a necessary response to Hamas attacks.

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‘‘It was justified. It was proportionate,’’ he said.

Nearly 1,900 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian medics. Israel says some 900 Palestinian militants were among the dead.

Netanyahu said he regretted ‘‘every’’ civilian death, but that Hamas was responsible because it carried out attacks from civilian areas.

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