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Putin urges Netanyahu to stop armed standoff in southern Israel

July 10, 18:49 UTC+4 MOSCOW
Israeli-Palestinian relations aggravated after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank
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Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu (archive)

Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW, July 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that armed confrontation in southern Israel and in the Gaza Strip leading to numerous victims among civilians should be stopped as soon as possible. The Kremlin press-service reported this on Thursday.

The conversation was requested by the Israeli side, the Kremlin said. “Further bilateral contacts and some other issues of mutual interest were also touched upon,” it said.

Israeli-Palestinian relations aggravated after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later, the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants акщь the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.

The operation to search for the teenagers continued for more than two weeks and was accompanied by searches, arrests of Palestinian activists and shellings of the Palestinian territory.

On July 1, 2014, a 16-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem’s Palestinian Arab neighborhood of Shuafat was kidnapped and killed. Six ultra-right Jewish activists were arrested for the crime. The death of the Palestinian teenager caused riots among Palestinians.

On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the start of the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. The IDF carried out strikes on 50 targets in the Gaza Strip, most of which were launching platforms for rockets. Five Palestinians were killed and some 20 were wounded.

The immediate reason for the operation was that cities in southern Israel were massively shelled by Hamas military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. According to the Israeli army’s press service, on July 7, some 90 missiles were fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip. A total of 450 missiles have been fired since the start of 2014.

Israeli premier Netanyahu ordered the IDF to prepare for a possible ground operation. Israel announced mobilization of 1,500 reservists and sent two army brigades to the border with Gaza.

Since the start of their activity on December 14, 1987, Hamas militants set a course for liberation of Israel-occupied Palestinian territories. The group has carried out a few dozen terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities of Israel.

Hamas regularly shells Israel’s territory with homemade rockets. In response, Israel shells Gaza and holds military operations there to suppress militant activity and destroy Hamas’ military structure. According to Hamas, 1,365 Israelis died in 1987-2011 in terrorist attacks made by its militants.

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