07/01/2014, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Israel set to decide extent of retaliation for three murdered teenagers

The cabinet to meet again this evening. Despite all in executive voicing support for the capture and punishment of those responsible, the positions appear different. Homes of the two suspects in the kidnapping destroyed in Hbron. Pope Francis "asks God to inspire thoughts of compassion and peace in all". Hamas lays blame at Israel’s door.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli cabinet will meet again tonight to decide the extent of retaliation against Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killing of three young students at a rabbinical school - Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer - whose bodies which were found yesterday.

The first statement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay ', was followed by an emergency security cabinet meeting, which ended last night without a decision being taken. Despite all in executive voicing support for the capture and punishment of those responsible, the positions appear different . The Minister for the Ecomony, right-wing Naftali Bennett, who suggested the bombing of empty structures in Gaza, has called for tougher measures.  In response, the Ministers of defense, Moshe Ya 'alon, Finance, Yair Lapid, and Justice, Tzipi Livni have called for a more measured action.

Ya'alon has, however, proposed to continue the current operation in the West Bank since the disappearance of the boys - which took place June 12 - which has led to hundreds of arrests.

The hunt is on for Hamas members Marwan Kawasme, 29, and Amar Abu Aysha, 32, indicated by the Israelis as perpetrators of the kidnapping. Palestinian sources report that their homes in Hebron, were set on fire last night by the Israeli military. A child was injured in the attack. And while the army intensifies the search for the two suspects, a large number of soldiers were deployed in Hebron and in the region of Beit Khalil, closing off the area. Meanwhile the Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in Gaza in response to rocket attacks on southern areas of the Jewish state.

The developments have raised global concern and condemnation. The director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, called  the murder of the three boys " terrible and tragic news." "Violence - he added - calls more violence and feeds the deadly circle of hatred. Pope Francis shares in the pain of the families affected by this murderous violence and the pain of all those affected by the consequences of hatred, and asks God to inspire in all thoughts of compassion and peace". The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, spoke of a "hateful" act carried out by "the enemies of peace".

On the Palestinian side, on the one hand President Mahmoud Abbas today has been in contact with representatives of American and European as well as Arab political world, to curb the Israeli retaliation, while on the other Hamas has accused Israel itself. The spokesman of the Islamic movement, Sami Abu Zuhri called the allegations "senseless". "The story of the disappearance and killing of the three settlers is based on the Israeli narrative only  - he added - The Israeli occupation is trying to refer to this narrative in order to justify its wide-scale war against our people, against the resistance and against Hamas." And " If Netanyahu launches a war against Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him".

 

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