Israel Sends Battalions to West Bank After Settlers Killed

  • Netanyahu says Palestinian Authority failed to condemn attack
  • Kerry says `constructive steps' still possible in the region

Israel sent four army battalions to the West Bank after Palestinian gunmen killed two Israeli settlers in a drive-by shooting that also wounded their children.

An army spokesman said the deployment was intended to prevent an escalation of violence south of the Palestinian city of Nablus, near the Jewish settlement of Itamar, where the killings took place on Thursday. The Israeli military is searching for the gunmen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed to increase security, said in New York Friday that the international community must tell the Palestinian Authority: “Start fighting terrorism. If you won’t, we will.”

“I have yet to hear any condemnation from President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said as he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. “Worse, I heard senior officials from his Fatah movement praise this action.”

With peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians suspended for more than a year, tensions and violence have risen over the past month, especially at a Jerusalem shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews.

Kerry told Netanyahu that “there are ways to cooperate, to take constructive steps that can address this over the long term, which is something we have worked on together and will continue to work on.”

At the UN this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of repeatedly breaching the political and security pacts included in earlier peace accords, saying he no longer considered himself bound by the agreements.

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