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Kerry plans trip to Middle East 'soon': State Dept

AFP , Wednesday 14 Oct 2015
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during an event sponsored by Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts October 13, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to travel to the Middle East to call for calm amid a spate of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, his spokesman said Wednesday.

State Department spokesman John Kirby could not confirm the timetable nor the venue of any talks -- and played down the possibility of a revived peace process -- but said Kerry hoped to talk to local leaders.

"He has every intention of travelling to the region soon and I don't have anything to announce today with respect to travels," Kirby said. "Travel to the region is as specific as it can be right now."

Asked about media reports that Kerry hopes to host talks between Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan, Kirby said he had "nothing to report on the press reports you have seen with respect to that."

"He does remain deeply concerned by continued escalating violence. It's something he has been focused on for a while now and he intends to travel to the region to continue those kind of discussions," he said.

Israel mobilized hundreds of soldiers on Wednesday as it clamped down of Palestinian neighborhoods of the occupied east Jerusalem in the wake of a spate of stabbing attacks, amid fears of a full-scale uprising.

The crisis started in late July when 18-month-old toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

The settlers smashed the windows of two homes in the village of Duma near Nablus and threw Molotov cocktails inside the buildings. Dawabsha died after sustaining serious burns.

The parents of the toddler, Riham and Saad, and their other son Ahmad lost their lives after suffering serious injuries as a result of the attack.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.


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