G8 blames Islamic groups for Middle East fighting

Monday, July 17, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
US President George Bush and other world leaders blamed Hizballah and Hamas for beginning the fighting in the Middle East. During its meeting in Russia, the Group of Eight (G-8) also called for “an immediate end to the current violence,” demanding that Hizballah and Hamas halt their rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli forces end their military response.

The statement placed blame squarely on the “extremist forces” of Hamas and Hizballah, just as Bush has done from the beginning, but went further than Bush wanted to in demanding that Israel “exercise utmost restraint” and “avoid casualties among innocent civilians” in its retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.

The leaders demanded that Hamas and Hizballah return unharmed Israeli soldiers they have seized in recent weeks and stop shelling Israeli towns, while telling Israel to call off its military operations, withdraw forces from Gaza and release Palestinian ministers and legislators arrested in the latest wave of conflict.

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