UN Ambassador: Israel Seeks to 'Destroy' Hamas

Associated Press - December 29, 2008 2:23 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) - Israel's ambassador to the United Nations says the goal of the current offensive in the Gaza Strip is much broader than ending Palestinian rocket attacks. She says Israel wants to destroy Gaza's ruling Hamas movement.

In an interview Tuesday, Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said Israel's main goal is to "destroy completely" what she called a "terrorist gang."

She would not explicitly say that Israel wants to topple the Hamas government. But she said a return to the terms of a recent six-month truce would not be enough.

Shalev says Israel wants stronger assurances that the rocket fire will stop. Israeli leaders have said they do not want to reoccupy Gaza.

More than 300 Palestinians have died in the 3-day air offensive.

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