BERLIN (Reuters) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Wednesday for solidarity with Israel in its conflict with Hamas and said the country had both the right and the obligation to protect its citizens against the rocket attacks from Gaza.
"I don't think we can imagine, if we're not there, what it means to be always in fear of being fired at with your family," Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
"That is why I say emphatically that there is the right to defend the population and the Israeli state has this right, and this duty," she said.
On Wednesday, Israeli air strikes shook Gaza and Palestinian rockets hit across the border as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to pursue a truce.
Merkel renewed her appeal for a rapid ceasefire and the resumption of political dialogue between the two sides.