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Israeli PM Speaks to Slain Palestinian Teen's Father

by VOA News July 07, 2014

Israel's prime minister phoned the father of a murdered Palestinian teenager on Monday to promise that the attackers would be prosecuted, the government said, as anger over the killing fueled Arab street protests.

The burnt body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair was discovered in a Jerusalem forest last week.

Six Jews have been arrested in what police suspect was a revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish youths. Three of the six suspects have confessed to killing Khudair and have re-enacted the crime for authorities, Israeli investigators say.

"I wish to express my shock and the shock of Israel's citizens over the despicable murder of your son," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the father, Hussein Abu Khudair, according to the statement.

"The murderers will be brought to trial and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," the right-wing leader added, according to the statement, a day after Israel announced that six Jewish suspects, whom it did not identify, were in custody.

No comment from family

Hussein Abu Khudair was not immediately available for comment.

President Abbas met the Abu Khudair family and a delegation from their neighborhood of Shua'fat in his compound in Ramallah on Monday.

Abbas said he will sign new international treaties, for the protection of the Palestinian people.

"We will no longer be silent at these crimes against our people - the killings, torture, settlements, attacking, cutting down trees and attacking mosques. We will not be silent," Abbas said.

The youngster's death has triggered street clashes between angry Palestinians and Israeli police in East Jerusalem, violence that has spread to Arab towns and villages across Israel.

Israelis also have been angered by the deaths of the three Jewish teens, who disappeared in the occupied West Bank on June 12. Their bodies were found in the territory June 30.

Israel said Hamas militants killed them - an allegation the Islamist group, now locked in daily cross-border fighting with Israel along the Gaza frontier, has neither accepted nor denied.

After the Israeli youngsters' funerals on Tuesday, crowds in Jerusalem blocked roads and chanted "Death to Arabs." Several people tried to attack passing Arabs.

Honest investigation

Israel's outgoing president, Shimon Peres, and his successor, Reuven Rivlin, promised in a joint editorial published in Yedioth Ahronoth, the country's best-selling newspaper on Monday, there would be no cover-up in the investigation of the Palestinian's death.

Cautioning that "words can kill," they also appealed for an end to incitement by both sides in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The bloodshed will stop only when we all understand that it is not our unhappy fate to live together, but rather our destiny to do so," Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Rivlin, a veteran right-wing politician, wrote.

Also Monday, Hamas said seven of its fighters had been killed by a series of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas statement Monday said four people were also injured, and vowed that Israel would 'pay a tremendous price' for the attacks.

The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes overnight in response to what it said were 25 rockets fired by militants in Gaza into Israel.

It also reported clashes early Monday after security forces were attacked near a security fence in Gaza.

On Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated appeals for calm, and vowed to not allow extremists from either side to 'set the region on fire and bring a new wave of bloodshed.'

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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