Obama condemns 'senseless' murder of Israeli teens

US Presidential Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. -- PHOTO: AFP
US Presidential Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama condemned on Monday the “senseless” murder of three Israeli teenagers and warned against actions that could further “destabilise” the situation, amid threats of retaliation against Hamas.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth,” Mr Obama said in a written statement.

The president expressed “deepest and heartfelt condolences” to the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel. The latter held both Israeli and American citizenship.

Israel earlier found the bodies of the missing teenagers in the West Bank, blamed Hamas for their murders and vowed to make the Islamist group pay.

Mr Obama said that as a father himself, he could not imagine the “indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing.”

He also urged “all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilise the situation.”

“As the Israeli people deal with this tragedy, they have the full support and friendship of the United States,” Mr Obama said.