French president condemns 'cowardly murder' of Israeli teens
French President Francois Hollande on Monday condemned the "cowardly murder" of three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found in the West Bank nearly three weeks after they went missing.
Hollande "strongly condemns the cowardly murder of Eyal Ifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer and offers his sincere condolences to their families as well as to the Israeli authorities," the presidency said in a statement.
Voicing concern at the surge of violence in the Palestinian territories, Hollande condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel and called for "everything to be done to avoid new victims and the risk of an escalation of violence."
The surge in rocket fire coincided with the start of a huge Israeli arrest operation in the West Bank aimed at finding the teens, whose bodies were discovered in a field near Halhul.
It was not immediately clear how the youths died but Israel's deputy defence minister Danny Danon said they were murdered by "Hamas terrorists" as he called for an operation to "eradicate" the Islamist movement.
© 2014 AFP