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Kerry makes hot-mic comments on Israel


WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed frustration over Israel's operation in Gaza during remarks caught on a microphone between television interviews Sunday.

Kerry made the remarks while receiving a TV interview program "Fox News Sunday," saying: "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation," with video recorded before he came on air.

"I hope they don't think that's an invitation to go do more," Kerry was heard talking about Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza to a State Department official just before he appeared on the political talk show.

Kerry's comments delivered an apparent attitude of frustration over the civilian toll in the Israeli operation.

The Palestinian death toll topped 500 on Sunday as Israel launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip after two weeks of air attacks.

When asked on his hot-mic remarks by Fox host Chris Wallace, Kerry said: "I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does in respect to young children and civilians."

He also reiterated Israel's right to self-defense, saying: "I think it's very, very difficult in these situations, obviously very difficult."

Kerry traveled to Cairo early Monday for crisis talks on Gaza, with the aim of pushing for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.