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Kerry calls Abbas, Netanyahu to urge Mideast calm: US official

17 october 2015, 12:44

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to express concern at recent violence and ask them to work to restore calm, an official said Friday, AFP reports.

The move comes amid mounting clashes in Israel and the Palestinian territories that have raised fears of a full-scale uprising, with an overnight arson attack on a Jewish holy site in the West Bank the latest incident to heighten tensions.

Kerry, in Milan as part of a European tour, spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, the State Department official said, to discuss "how best to end the recent wave of violence, and to offer U.S. support for efforts to restore calm as soon as possible".

A day earlier Kerry called Palestinian Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and "reiterated the importance of avoiding further violence and preventing inflammatory rhetoric, accusations and actions that will increase tensions", the official said.

Kerry also said he "hoped to visit the region at the appropriate moment."

Israeli security forces have deployed massively in Jerusalem after two weeks of Palestinian attacks in the city and across Israel.

The torching of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus came as Palestinians called for a "Friday of revolution" against Israel, while Israeli fire killed two Palestinians and wounded 98 in clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Outside a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, a Palestinian disguised as a news photographer stabbed and wounded a soldier before being shot dead.

Seven Israelis have been killed and dozens wounded in the recent violence, while 37 Palestinians have died and hundreds more been wounded in clashes.

In the Palestinian uprisings of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, thousands were killed and many more wounded in near daily attacks.

Netanyahu and Kerry are planning to meet in Berlin next week, according to US and Israeli officials, though the exact details have yet to be confirmed.

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