Airstrike in Gaza: US Pres. Obama Continues to Support Israel over Hamas Missiles
President Barack Obama suggested Sunday that it was "preferable" that Israel did not launch a ground invasion in Gaza, but stood firm over support of its ally despite mounting Palestinian civilian casualties. Speaking at the start of a three-day tour of south-east Asia, he reiterated the White House position that rockets fired into Israel by Hamas were the "precipitating event" in the ratcheting up of cross-border conflict. Obama added that America had been "actively working with all the parties in the region" to bring about a de-escalation of violence and that the next 48 hours would be important if progress were to be made. The comments come on a backdrop of a continuing pummeling of Gaza from missile strikes. Overnight, two children died and 12 people were injured when houses were hit in northern Gaza by Israeli shells. Since Wednesday, 57 Palestinians have been killed as a result of air strikes, including 24 civilians. More than 400 Gazans have been wounded, according to medics. Meanwhile, Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israel, resulting in three civilian deaths. Despite the growing number of Palestinian casualties, Obama again declined to criticise the show of force by its traditional Middle East ally during Sunday's press conference. He blamed Hamas for provoking Israel with an "ever-escalating number of missiles". "There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of ...