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Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper gestures as a soldier from the Voltigeurs regiment reacts prior to a news conference to announce the restoration of the Manege Militaire in Quebec City, November 16, 2012.

MATHIEU BELANGER/REUTERS

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is defending Israel's right to defend itself against "terrorist" actions launched by Hamas against the Jewish state.

Mr. Harper condemned the recent rocket attacks against Israel from Hamas in Gaza while expressing concerns over the possibility of an increase in hostilities.

"We condemn this terrorist group's attacks against Israel. We recognize and support Israel's right to defend itself against such terrorist attacks," Mr. Harper said during a news conference in Quebec City Friday.

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Mr. Harper urged both sides to "take all precautions" to spare innocent lives, but stopped short of commenting on the role Egypt was being called to play in helping defuse the conflict.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird urged Egypt to play a conciliatory role.

"Canada recognizes that Egypt has played a historic role in the Middle East Peace Process and we urge them to use its influence to demand Hamas immediately stop firing rockets into Israel," said Richard Roth, a spokesman for foreign affairs minister John Baird.

The Prime Minister said Canada has been concerned for some time about the possibility of another round of confrontations by Hamas against Israel.

Mr. Harper made the comments during a news conference following the announcement of a $100-million reconstruction project to rebuild an armoury near Quebec's Old City that went down in flames in April 2008.

With a file from Campbell Clark

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