White House condemns Hamas over rocket attacks into Israel

The White House on Thursday condemned Hamas over the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, as violence between the two sides escalated.

Press Secretary Jay Carney said there is "no justification" for the violence perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

"We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to de-escalate," Carney said. "Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart. Yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people closer to achieving self determination."

The comments came after Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr reportedly called on the U.S. to intervene to stop "Israeli aggression." But Carney said President Obama spoke Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and "reiterated the United States' support for Israel's right to self-defense."

The call by Amr reflects the deteriorating relationship between Israel and Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the Israelis and Hamas was moving closer to an all-out ground war. Israel launched its own offensive Wednesday, killing the head of Hamas' militant wing and destroying dozens of rocket launchers. Palestinian militants launched nearly 150 rockets at Israel on Thursday, killing three people.

Carney said "we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian citizens caused by the ensuing violence."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.