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Hamas slams UNRWA's Gaza director over Israeli assault

GAZA CITY, GAZA - MARCH 9: Director of Gaza Operations at United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Matthias Schmale speaks during an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Gaza City, Gaza on March 9, 20120. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Director of Gaza Operations at United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Matthias Schmale speaks during an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Gaza City, Gaza on March 9, 20120. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian group Hamas on Tuesday accused the Director of UNRWA Operations in the Gaza Strip, Matthias Schmale, of justifying the Israeli assault on the seaside territory, Anadolu Agency reported.

In a statement, Hamas said it was "shocked by Schmale's statements to Israeli Channel 12 about the recent aggression on Gaza".

Schmale's remarks "justified the targeting of civilians and their homes, and sought to downplay the size of the losses," Hamas said, going on to accuse him of "praising the ability of the occupation army".

In an interview with Channel 12, Schmale said the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza were carried out with "high precision."

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"I am not a military expert, but from my point of view there is a high precision in the Israeli army bombing during the past 11 days," Schmale said, adding that the Israeli army only targeted civilians in some exceptions.

Hamas called on Schmale to stick to his humanitarian mandate while calling on UNRWA to "officially apologize to the Palestinian people" and to take legal and administrative measures against him.

At least 284 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Israeli army since April against the backdrop of an Israeli court verdict to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

Thirteen Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

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