Russia appeals for restraint after tensions around Gaza

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Following the escalation of the confrontation around Gaza Strip the Russian Foreign Ministry has urged the parties involved to exercise restraint and do whatever is necessary to normalize the situation, the ministry said in a commentary posted on its website on Tuesday, reports Interfax.

The situation has aggravated even further after the discovery near Hevron, on the West Bank of the Jordan River, on June 30, of the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped on June 12, 2014 and subsequently killed, the ministry said. “We resolutely condemn the brutal killing of the innocent Israelis. There is no justification to this inhumane act. We offer our condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those killed. We are calling on the Palestinian leaders together with Israeli law enforcement authorities to find and punish the masterminds of this crime,” the ministry said.”The violence spiraling out of control could lead to new casualties,” the ministry said.

There has been a noticeable aggravation of tensions around the Gaza Strip in the past few days as a result of an exchange of strikes between Palestinian militants operating in the enclave and the Israeli army, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The remains of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, were found in a field near Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, not far from where they were allegedly abducted.

It has been established that the boys were returning from a religious school in a Jewish settlement late on June 12. They were hoping to catch a ride back home. One of the teens realized that they were in trouble, called the police and whispered, “We’ve been kidnapped”, the Times of Israel asserted. Law enforcement officers, all of whom are to be fired, thought the call was a prank and decided not to act. The boys were killed soon after the emergency call was made, the paper alleged.

Israel has blamed Hamas, a militant Islamist organization, for abducting and murdering the youths. In a statement released on Monday, June 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that “Hamas is responsible” and vowed that the organization will pay, describing those who committed the hideous crime as “beasts”. He voiced the same sentiment days after the boys were abducted.

It is hardly surprising then that the majority of those detained during the search operation are alleged Hamas members. The militant group, classified as terrorist by Israel, the US, and European Union, has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. It warned, however, that Israel “will open the gates of hell” if the punitive operation continues.

Overall, search operation lasted 18 days and saw more than 400 Palestinians arrested, hundreds of homes destroyed while five Palestinians lost their lives. Meanwhile, Israelis have rallied behind the families of the dead youths in a display of national unity.

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