Israel's security cabinet held a crisis meeting on Monday. The reason: the killing of two Israeli soldiers by Palestinians since Friday.
Earlier the weekend, Tomer Hazan (20) was killed in an Arab village. He was buried on Sunday (photo). Hours later, a Palestinian sniper in Hebron shot and killed another soldier, Kobi Gal, also 20-years-old.
Gal was shot as Israeli soldiers battled a violent Palestinian mob that was hurling stones and firebombs at Jewish worshippers visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs, burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah.
Hazan's killer has already been taken into custody, while the sniper that killed Gal is currently being hunted by Israeli forces.
Meanwhile, the slayings are likely to have a major impact on the renewed, but faltering US-driven Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel is demanding that for the time being, Israel release no more Palestinian prisoners.
But Palestinian officials, who have failed to openly condemn the fresh killings, insist Israel has committed to freeing the jailed terrorists, and must fulfill that promise if the peace talks are to continue.
The White House released a statement reading: "This violence and terrorism are unacceptable. they undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere that is necessary for progress in the peace negotiations."
The violent deaths of the two soldiers has also overshadowed the current Feast of Tabernacles festivities in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the two bereaved families and stressed the need to combat terror at all times.
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