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|Wednesday, May 09, 2001, updated at 16:09(GMT+8)|
Sharon Condemns Killing of Two Israeli Teenagers in West BankIsraeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Wednesday condemned the killing of two Israeli teenagers from the West Bank settlement of Tekoa and expressed his condolences to their families.
"The horrifying murders constitute an additional escalation in the Palestinian violent terrorist activities against innocent civilians," Sharon said in a statement issued by his office.
The Israeli government "demands the Palestinians to immediately halt terrorist activities and the venomous incitement to murder Israeli civilians," he added.
The two teenage boys, both 14 years old, were found dead early Wednesday morning in a cave near the settlement of Tekoa, east of Bethlehem. They were believed to have been stoned and slashed to death.
At least 410 Palestinians, 77 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since the outbreak last September of the current Palestinians Intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation.
The killing of the two teenagers took place after a 48-year-old Israeli settler was killed near the West Bank settlement of Itamar and the killing of four-month-old Palestinian baby girl by Israeli tank fire on Monday in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army said that it was "responding to Palestinian mortar attacks against Jewish settlements in Gaza." Tensions are running high on both sides after more than seven months of bloodshed.
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