Netanyahu vows ‘heavy hand’ against terrorists after attacks

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans on Sunday to make it easier for Israelis to carry guns after the synagogue attack, the deadliest against Jews in the Jerusalem area since 2008. It came a day after the deadliest Israeli military raid for years in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Netanyahu said making it easier for Israelis to get permits to carry guns would reduce violence: “We have seen, time and again … that heroic, armed and trained civilians save lives.”

Further steps were also announced to strengthen settlements in the occupied West Bank, and to revoke residency rights from relatives of Palestinians who carry out attacks.

“While we will not hesitate to act against terrorism, we wish to regain calm and stability on the ground,” said Defence Minister Yoav Gallant after a security assessment in the West Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due in Jerusalem and the West Bank this week for his first visit since Netanyahu returned to power at the helm of a coalition that includes Israel’s far right. Blinken’s visit now looks set to be dominated by efforts to prevent the violence spinning out of control.

A Palestinian gunman died on Sunday of wounds from Thursday’s raid in Jenin, raising the death toll to ten including two civilians from that raid. At least 34 Palestinian fighters and civilians have been killed so far this month in West Bank clashes with Israeli security forces.

Russia’s Lavrov urges Israel and Palestinians not to worsen tensions

MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged senior Palestinian and Israeli diplomats by phone on Sunday to do their utmost to avoid escalating a surge in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, his ministry said.

“Sergey Lavrov called on the Israeli and Palestinian partners to show maximum responsibility and refrain from any actions that could provoke further degradation of the situation,” it said in a statement.

Lavrov also said there was an “acute” need for the “Quartet” of international mediators to restart peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian representatives, according to the statement. 

Israeli police sealed off the Jerusalem family home of a Palestinian gunman on Sunday. He had killed seven people outside a synagogue the day after Israeli forces killed seven militants and two civilians in a raid on the West Bank.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


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