WASHINGTON - The United States on Saturday called the stabbing deaths of five Israelis in the West Bank settlement of Itamar a terrorist attack and urged the Palestinian Authority to "unequivocally" condemn the killings.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people," the White House said in a statement.

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A Jewish couple and three of their children were stabbed to death in Itamar on Saturday in what Israeli officials said was an attack by a Palestinian who broke into their home in the early hours.

"There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home," The White House said.

"We call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable."

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