Los Angeles elected officials somberly listened to the sound of a recorded air-raid siren, bowed their heads and held a moment of silence Tuesday for those who have died during the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Nine elected officials at City Hall attended the event, organized by Council member Bob Blumenfield and billed as a demonstration of solidarity with the people of Israel. Several remarked on the latest cease-fire in the violence, announced earlier in the day.
"I'm proud that we have a cease-fire today," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "And certainly as mayor here of a town that has one of the most diverse populations on the face of the Earth, that is one of the great cities of Jews, of Israelis, of Arabs, that we can speak out, speak strong for maintaining that peace and speak out against the terror that the Hamas regime has unleashed."
Since mid-June, Israel has been hit with almost 4,000 rockets, said David Siegel, Israel's consul general in Los Angeles. Israel asked Hamas to stop and its leadership refused, Siegel said.
"No one wanted this," he said.
Israeli forces have dismantled 32 "terror tunnels" under mosques, hospitals and civilian communities, Siegel said. It will be critical, he said, to make sure that Hamas is not permitted to rebuild those networks.
When a reporter asked whether Tuesday's gathering, which did not include any speakers sympathetic to Hamas, was "anti-Palestinian," Blumenfield answered: "No, what we are against is the Hamas regime and the terror it is inflicting."
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