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Desmond Tutu Calls for End to Israeli Blockade on Gaza Strip


Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu has called on Israel to lift a blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In remarks at a news conference in Gaza Thursday, the South African archbishop denounced the international community for what he called "its silence and complicity" over the situation in Gaza. He said conditions in the coastal strip should shame everyone.

Tutu also said he used his visit to Gaza this week to urge Hamas leaders to stop firing rockets into Israeli territory. The group says its militants will not stop attacking Israel until the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted.

Archbishop Tutu is leading a U.N. investigation into a 2006 Israeli bombing that killed 19 Palestinian civilians in the town of Beit Hanoun. The victims, including at least 13 women and children, were killed while sleeping in their homes.

The United Nations ordered an investigation after the attack, but Israel blocked the process by denying entry visas to the U.N. delegation.

Tutu and his team entered Gaza Tuesday from Egypt at the Rafah border crossing.

Israel has said the shelling was a technical error of the artillery radar system. No one was charged in the case.

The bombing drew worldwide condemnation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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