US urges restraint as kidnapped Israelis remain missing

Washington reiterates support for efforts to locate boys; State Department spokeswoman says US concerned by deaths of 2 Palestinians in West Bank.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
June 21, 2014 09:51
2 minute read.
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IDF troops operating near Nablus.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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The United States continued to offer its support for efforts to locate the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank last week and reiterated its call for all sides to exercise restraint, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday.

"We urge all parties to exercise restraint and avoid steps that could destabilize the situation," Psaki said, adding that Washington has been in contact with both the Israelis and Palestinians.

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While the US has condemned the abduction of the three Israeli youths, it says it cannot confirm the responsible party for the kidnapping of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraekel, who is a dual US-Israeli citizen.

Psaki said, "the effort to take every step to bring the three missing teenagers home I would support, we would all support, and we’ve offered our assistance to do everything we can."

During her daily briefing, Psaki added that the US was concerned by the reported deaths of two Palestinians on Friday in the West Bank, and was seeking more information on the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

Palestinian reports on Friday said two Palestinians were killed during clashes with security forces during overnight raids in the West Bank.

Palestinian medics on Friday morning said Mohammed Dudin, 15, was killed in the village of Dura, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank. The IDF said troops had fired live ammunition when rocks and firebombs were thrown at them during an arrest raid.

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Later on Friday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported a second Palestinian casualty from overnight raids in the West Bank. According to Ma'an, 22-two-year-old Mustafa Hosni Aslan succumbed to wounds sustained in the overnight clashes.

The IDF arrested 25 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Thursday, and searched 200 homes on Thursday night. Nine raids were launched against Da'wa social services centers, used by Hamas to entrench itself in Palestinian civilian society.

Following reports of the clashes, United Nations Middle East envoy Robert Serry on Friday also urged all sides to show restraint and bring about the "immediate release of the kidnapped Israelis"

"We call for restraint and expect Israel to carry out the related security operations in compliance with international law and respect for the lives, dignity and livelihoods of Palestinians," Serry said in a written statement to reporters.

"It should thus seek to minimize the impact of security operations on individuals who have committed no offense and investigate allegations of excessive use of force, including the killing of civilians.

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