US: Kerry calls Netanyahu, Abbas over Palestinian unrest
WASHINGTON (AA): U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict late Friday.
According to a statement from the State Department, he expressed his “deep concern over the recent wave of violence and offer[ed] his support for efforts to restore calm as soon as possible”.
Kerry also made clear to the Palestinian leader that the U.S. would remain engaged with the leaders of the two communities to restore calm.
The recent clashes have erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian Muslims who are prevented from attending prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.
As Israeli authorities have prevented men under 40 years old from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, violence has spread across Palestinian cities.
Since Oct. 1, seven Israelis and more than 30 Palestinians, including several children, have been killed in clashes.
A State Department spokesman John Kirby described knife attacks by Israelis and Palestinians as terrorism during the press briefing and added that Israeli forces might have used excessive force
Kirby remained under fire by Israel officials for his comments but President Barack Obama called on parties to respect the religious sites in Jerusalem.
During a press briefing a State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that Kerry would meet Netanyahu during his visit in Europe in the coming days.
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