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Germany blames Hamas for Middle East escalation

Nov. 16, 2012 1:16 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 1:16 P.M.)
BERLIN (Reuters) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is "very worried" about an escalation of violence in the Middle East and calls on Hamas to immediately stop shooting rockets from Gaza into Israel, a government spokesman said on Friday.

"Hamas in Gaza is responsible for the outbreak of violence," spokesman Georg Streiter told a news conference. "There is no justification for the shooting of rockets at Israel, which has led to massive suffering of the civilian population.

"The Chancellor urges those responsible in the Gaza Strip to immediately stop firing on Israel. At the same time she calls on the Egyptian government to use its influence on Hamas to limit the violence and bring it to an end."

Streiter said the Israeli government had the "right and obligation" to protect its population.
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