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Brazil criticizes Israeli attack on Gaza
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The Brazilian government on Saturday criticized Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip as "disproportionate response."

Agency reports say the bombings have left at least 225 dead and over 700 wounded in the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1967 war in which Israel occupied the Gaza Strip.

"The Brazilian government calls on the parties to refrain from further acts of violence and extends its sympathy to families of the victims of the bombing of this morning," an official statement said.

The statement also expressed the Brazilian government's regret that violence in the region had affected mainly the civilian population and undermined efforts for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli warplanes began to bomb security sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip at 11:30 a.m. local time (0930 GMT) Saturday.

Israel said the strikes were in response to rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants, which intensified after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expired on Dec. 19.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2008)


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