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Joan Rivers stands behind Gaza comments: ‘War is hell’

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LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Comedienne Joan Rivers says she will “stand behind” what she told a paparazzo about not feeling sadness for civilians killed in Gaza.

Rivers made her controversial comments at the Los Angeles airport Wednesday when a photographer for Splash News Online asked her about the nearly 2,000 Palestinian killed over the last month since Israel launched military operations in Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks.

“When you declare war, you declare war,” Rivers said. “They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that.”

Rivers compared Israel’s operations against Gaza to the United States’ dropping atomic bombs on Japan 69 years ago.

“You were told to get out, you don’t get out, then you know you’re an idiot, and at least the ones that were killed were the ones with very low IQs,” Rivers said.

Rivers posted what she called an “accurate clarification” of her comments on her Facebook page Thursday afternoon, but it was not an apology. Instead, she said she was “saddened and disappointed” that her words were “totally taken out of context” by the media.

“The media, as usual, has decided to only quote the most out of context and inflammatory non sequitur rather than giving an accurate account of what my intentions were behind the statement,” Rivers said.

She’s “tired of bearing the brunt of attacks by people who want to sell newspapers or gain ratings by creating a scandal about me that is non-existent,” Rivers said.

“What I said and stand behind is, war is hell and unfortunately civilians are victims of political conflicts,” Rivers said.

Rivers said she was “praying for peace” in the Middle East.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said as of Thursday that 1,888 people, including 446 children, have died and 9,804 injured in Gaza in the past month. The United Nations has estimated that at least 70% of the dead were civilians. The Israel Defense Forces believes it killed about 900 militants — roughly half of the dead.

Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel died.