US ‘Extremely Concerned’ Over Fresh Israeli-Palestinian Escalation
by i24 News
i24 News – The United States on Wednesday expressed deep concerns over the eruption of fresh violence in the West Bank, including an Israeli military raid that left 11 Palestinians dead and an attempted terror attack hours later.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 11 Palestinians were killed and at least 100 wounded – with five in critical condition – after the Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Nablus. Later on Wednesday evening, reports emerged of an attempted terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Homesh and at the Qalandiya crossing. There were no casualties.
Meanwhile, a source connected to the Hamas terror group in Gaza told i24NEWS that militants in the Strip were discussing how hard they should attack Israel – rather than if they should attack – as Egyptian officials were reportedly failing to convince the Palestinian enclave’s Islamic Jihad to not engage in escalation.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the Israeli army’s “counterterrorism” operation had killed and wounded both militants and bystanders, and left more than 100 hurt.
“The United States is extremely concerned by the levels of violence in Israel and the West Bank today,” Price said. “We recognize the very real security concerns facing Israel. At the same time, we are deeply concerned by the large number of injuries and the loss of civilian lives.”
Price noted that US officials were in direct contact with both sides, as well as with other countries in the region, and were encouraging the Israelis and Palestinians to ease tensions.
“Ultimately, our message – and the message that both parties are hearing from countries in the region – is that it is incumbent on them to not only avoid steps that only exacerbate tensions or inflame tensions, but to actually take steps to de-escalate tensions,” he said.
The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply disturbed by the continuing cycle of violence and appalled by the loss of civilian lives.”
“I urge all sides to refrain from steps that could further inflame an already volatile situation,” he added.