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En route to Israel, Sheriff Lee Baca slams Hamas actions in Gaza conflict

January 8, 2009 |  4:05 pm

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca called for the Palestinian organization Hamas to cease what he called indiscriminate violence as he flew to Israel today for a weeklong visit with key leaders, and to tour medical facilities that treat wounded police and soldiers.

Baca, who has trained with Israeli police and defense forces and deploys many of their anti-terror tactics in L.A. County, will visit southern Israel during his stay.

“The mandate of local law enforcement is to protect innocent people from intended criminal acts,” Baca said. “Suicide bombers or the launchers of rockets indiscriminately into civilian communities is the deadliest form of murder against innocent civilians. There is no political or military benefit to these criminal acts.”

Baca, a longtime vocal supporter of Israel, blamed Hamas for the ongoing conflict.

“Sadly, Hamas likes to tell the Palestinians that it was terrorism that brought Israel to withdraw from Gaza in 2005. I spoke to the minister in charge of the resettlement at the time, and I believe the truth tells a different story. And it is this: It was the hope for peace that led Israel to withdraw from Gaza. It is the terrorism of Hamas that compels Israel to reenter.”

-- Richard Winton