Kerry condemns ‘outrageous’ Gaza truce violations

MATTHEW LEE, AP Diplomatic Writer
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announces a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday between Israel and Hamas, in New Delhi, India, Friday Aug. 1, 2014. During the 72-hour cease-fire, there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announces a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday between Israel and Hamas, in New Delhi, India, Friday Aug. 1, 2014. During the 72-hour cease-fire, there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, Pool)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday condemned violations of the internationally-brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and said the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier would be a “barbaric” action.

Secretary of State John Kerry denounced as “outrageous” a militant attack that killed two Israeli soldiers and led to the alleged abduction. Saying it was an affront to assurances to respect the cease-fire given to the United States and United Nations, which brokered the truce. He demanded that the militant Hamas movement that controls Gaza move to “immediately and unconditionally release” the missing Israeli soldier.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack,” Kerry said in a statement released by the State Department as he was flying back to the U.S. from an official trip to India.

Kerry said he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the developments, which led Israel to declare the cease-fire over. Kerry said it would be a “tragedy if this outrageous attack leads to more suffering and loss of life on both sides of this conflict.”

“The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life,” he said.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister told Kerry that “Hamas has unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian cease-fire” and “will bear the consequences of their actions.”

Earlier Friday, the Israeli military said one of its soldiers was “feared” abducted just 90 minutes after the cease-fire took effect. Meanwhile, Palestinian officials said 35 Palestinians were killed by Israeli shelling.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest had called the attack and apparent abduction “a barbaric violation of the cease-fire agreement.”

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Associated Press writer Mark Smith contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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