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Turkey slams Israeli strikes in Gaza despite reconciliation

AP , Monday 22 Aug 2016
A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016.(Photo:Reuters)
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Turkey on Monday condemned what it said were "disproportionate" Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, insisting that a recent reconciliation pact does not preclude it from speaking out against the country's actions.

The Israeli military carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, targeting Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit an Israeli border town.

"The fact that our ties with Israel have normalized does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of such attacks that target the Palestinian people," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"On the contrary, we will continue to (defend) the Palestinian cause," it said, calling Israel's actions "against international laws and especially against consciences."

Turkey and Israel reached an agreement last month to end a six-year rift caused by an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza. Ten Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

Turkey's parliament last week approved the reconciliation agreement under which Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the victims within 25 days. Under the agreement, individual Israeli nationals also would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

Earlier, police detained five people who tried to break into Israel's consulate in Istanbul to protest the Gaza airstrikes.

State-run Anadolu Agency said the five entered a business center housing the consulate early Monday and were detained by police who were called to the scene.

Security around the building was increased, the agency reported.

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