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Israel's Netanyahu says Hamas and Islamic State must be defeated

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, holds up

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, holds up a picture while speaking during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan on Sept. 29, 2014. Credit: EPA / Justin Lane

UNITED NATIONS -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas, a Gaza-based militant group, and the Islamic State, the world's most formidable terrorist operation, are of the same violent ilk -- both part of a cancer that must be removed "before it's too late."

In a speech interrupted several times by applause at the General Assembly Monday, he also had harsh words for Iran, saying, "Iran's nuclear capabilities must be fully dismantled."

Netanyahu said Hamas, which fired rockets into Israel during the 50-day war that began in early July, is the Islamic State by another name, adding that both groups hope to spread a militant Islam worldwide even at the expense of other Muslims who don't share their fringe beliefs.

". . . Their ultimate goal is to dominate the world," he said.

As he did in a past appearance, Netanyahu held up a picture, this time of children in Gaza playing near rocket launchers. He said the image was evidence of Hamas' indifference to the safety of children and of committing a war crime because the group allegedly placed military equipment within densely populated civilian areas including schools and private homes.

He chided Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for not calling for an investigation into such practices when he spoke at the General Assembly last week.

"Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas," Netanyahu said. "What they share in common all militant Islamists share in common . . . They all share a fanatic ideology."

Netanyahu spent part of his speech revisiting a theme he has addressed in past appearances before the United Nations: Stopping the nuclear ambitions of Iran.

He suggested that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are intent on enriching uranium for military purposes -- despite both men's statements to the contrary -- and that they will put on a smiling face to the world to "bamboozle" their way to access the power of the weaponized atom.

Iran is now engaged in talks with the United States, France, Great Britain, China, Russia and Germany to reach agreement on its nuclear program. Iran's leaders have stated many times that the nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

But Netanyahu said the world should not be fooled.

"Iran, the world's most dangerous regime in the most dangerous region of the world will have the world's most dangerous weapon," Netanyahu warned, labeling Iran another practitioner of militant Islam.

"Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the smiles and all the charm will just vanish," he said. "To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war."

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