WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (KUNA) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice late on Thursday said she spoke with the Israeli defense minister and Israeli foreign minister about Israeli artillery shells crashing into United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip, and was told it was "an error that happened." "There is great concern on their part," Rice said of the Israelis. Reporters questioned Rice about the incident following a State Department signing ceremony with the United Arab Emirates on a pact for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The Israeli bombing of the UN headquarters in Gaza demonstrates "the very dangerous nature of the kinds of fighting that is going on and the events that we are in," Rice said, referring to the three-week-old Israeli military campaign in Gaza. "We are principally concerned, of course, about the humanitarian situation ..., " Rice said.
Israeli forces "extended the humanitarian pause (in bombing) for a period of time," Rice said, "and we think that that needs to be done, and we are really asking for the tightest possible cooperation and coordination" among UN personnel, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Israeli forces because "obviously it is a very difficult situation for civilians." Asked if she protested the UN bombing incident with the Israelis, Rice said, "We had a discussion of the difficulties that this had caused and the need to try to avoid such incidents. I am quite sure that they are trying to avoid them, but it is a difficult environment." (end) rm.tg KUNA 160924 Jan 09NNNN