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US Dem Pres. Candidate Slams Israel as 'Racist Regime' Amid Gaza Escalation

© REUTERS / Suhaib SalemA ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019
A ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019 - Sputnik International
The comments were made as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians escalated on 4 May, when hundreds of rockets were fired in the direction of Israel from the Gaza Strip, causing the IDF to strike back.

Mike Gravel, a former US Democratic Senator from Alaska, who announced his 2020 presidential bid last month, has weighed in on the recent exchange of fire between Israelis and Palestinians over the weekend.

READ MORE: US Media Portray Israelis as Victims in Latest Round of Gaza Strikes

In a tweet, which followed reports of a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, the 88-year-old accused Israel of being a “racist regime committed to annexation and gradual ethnic cleansing”.

Unlike Gravel, three other Democrats, also running for president, sided with Israel, while others refrained from comments. For instance, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper took to Twitter to say that “the random rocket fire by Hamas into Israel must stop”:

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker told CBS News that “we support Israel’s right to defend itself, full stop”.

“You have a terrorist organisation that actually suppresses its own people, conducts acts of violence and human rights violations against people who live in Gaza. And so Israel has a right to defend itself and it should do that”, Booker continued.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet joined Booker in backing Israel’s “right to self-defence against terror groups inside Gaza”.

Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, Sunday, May 5, 2019 - Sputnik International
Former Military Explains Why Iron Dome Failed to Intercept All Rockets From Gaza
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians took a new turn on 4 May when hundreds of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, prompting Israel to retaliate by hitting Hamas targets in the enclave. On 6 May, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that a total of 690 rockets had been fired from Gaza over the course of 48 hours, with 240 of them intercepted by air defence systems.

Since Saturday, Israeli forces have reportedly hit hundreds of targets in Gaza.

Reuters reported on Monday that the two sides had reached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement after two days of fighting.

READ MORE: GOP Slams Ilhan Omar's Tweet on Israel-Gaza Conflict as Anti-Semitism

According to media reports, at least 25 Palestinians died and another 125 were injured, WAFA news reported, citing the Gaza Health Ministry. As a result of the attacks, four people died in Israel, while at least 10 others were wounded by shrapnel from rockets, missiles, and mortar shells from Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

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