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Published: Tuesday, 1/6/2009

Venezuela expels Israeli ambassador


CARACAS, Venezuela Venezuela ordered the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador Tuesday to protest Israel s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Socialist President Hugo Chavez has condemned the Israeli campaign in Gaza, where nearly 600 Palestinians have been killed in ground and air strikes.

Israel launched the attacks Dec. 27 to stop Palestinian militants from firing rockets into southern Israel.

Venezuela s foreign ministry announced the decision in a statement, saying it has decided to expel the Israeli ambassador and part of the personnel of the Israeli embassy.

Chavez earlier condemned the Israelis carrying out the military campaign as murderers and urged Jews in Venezuela to take a stand against the Israeli government.

Now I hope that the Venezuelan Jewish community speaks out against this barbarism. Do it. Don t you strongly reject all acts of persecution? Chavez said.

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