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Israel destroys homes of Palestinians suspected of killing Israeli teens

Monday, 18 August 2014 - 11:11am IST | Place: JERUSALEM | Agency: Reuters
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Israeli troops on Monday demolished the homes of two Palestinians it suspects of the abduction and killing of three teenagers in the occupied West Bank in June, the army said.

Troops set charges to destroy the homes of Hussam Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha in the southern West Bank before dawn and sealed off the home of a third suspect, Marwan Kawasme, the army said.

Israel accuses Hamas Islamist militants of the abduction and killing of Jewish seminary students Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, who went missing on June 12 and were discovered dead a couple of weeks later in the West Bank.

Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied those accusations.

Hussam Kawasme, a 40-year-old resident of Hebron, was arrested on July 11 but the other two suspects remain at large, the army said.

The killings set off a cycle of violence that led to a month-long offensive between Israel and militants in Hamas-dominated Gaza. Israel carried out air strikes and a ground offensive in the enclave to counter militant rocket fire and to blow up a network of tunnels dug under the border to infiltrate the Jewish state.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says 1,980 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

A ceasefire that brought fighting to a halt is due to expire later on Monday and Egyptian-mediated talks to end the conflict are not certain to succeed, according to Palestinian delegates participating in the talks in Cairo.




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