Israel's Netanyahu in rare call to Abbas after toddler murder: Office

Netanyahu further told Abbas he had ordered the Israeli security forces to "use all measures to locate the murderers."
Netanyahu further told Abbas he had ordered the Israeli security forces to "use all measures to locate the murderers."PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare telephone call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, condemning the murder Friday of a Palestinian toddler in an arson attack and pledging a thorough investigation.

Netanyahu told Abbas "everyone in Israel was shocked by the reprehensible terrorism against the Dawabsha family" that killed the 18-month-old boy, his office said.

"We must fight terrorism together, regardless of which side it comes from," he added.

Netanyahu further told Abbas he had ordered the Israeli security forces to "use all measures to locate the murderers."

After speaking with Abbas, Netanyahu visited the Israeli hospital where the mother and brother of Ali Saad Dawabsha were being treated for severe burns.

The last time the two leaders spoke was on July 17, when Netanyahu called Abbas to wish him a happy holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Prior to that, the two spoke had not spoken since June 2014, when Netanyahu asked Abbas for help in ensuring the safe return of three Israeli teens kidnapped by Palestinian militants, who murdered them.

The United States later condemned what it said was a “vicious terrorist attack”.

A statement from the US State Department urged Israel to “apprehend the murderers” and called on both sides to “avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident.”

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington “condemns in the strongest possible terms last night’s vicious terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Duma.

“We convey our profound condolences to the Dawabsha family and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured,” he added.