Pence: Gaza attack shows Hamas can't be partner for peace

 
 
Updated 3/25/2019 10:25 AM
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  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem, Thursday March 21, 2019. Netanyahu has praised U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of its control over the Golan Heights as a holiday "miracle."  (Amir Cohen/Pool via AP)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem, Thursday March 21, 2019. Netanyahu has praised U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of its control over the Golan Heights as a holiday "miracle." (Amir Cohen/Pool via AP) Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he was cutting short his visit to Washington after a Gaza rocket attack on Israel, which Vice President Mike Pence said is evidence that Hamas militants cannot be a partner to achieve a Mideast peace.

Netanyahu vowed to strike back hard in response to the attack, which the Israeli military said was conducted by militants from Gaza's ruling Hamas. Netanyahu called the rocket strike, which injured several people, a "criminal attack." He said he planned to return to Israel to handle the crisis shortly after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

"The rocket attack by Hamas proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace," Pence said at the annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel, and the United States will never negotiate with terrorist Hamas."

The rocket destroyed a residential home in the farming community of Mishmeret, north of the city of Kfar Saba. The sounds of air raid sirens jolted residents of the Sharon area, northeast of Tel Aviv, from their sleep shortly after 5 a.m., sending them scurrying to bomb shelters. A strong sound of an explosion followed. The Israeli military quickly mobilized troops and called up reserves, setting the stage for a potential major conflagration shortly before Israel's upcoming elections.

Netanyahu arrived in Washington on Sunday for what was to have been a three-day visit.

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