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EU urges inquiry into killings in West Bank refugee camp

Aug. 2, 2011 9:03 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2011 6:36 P.M.)
BRUSSELS (AFP) -- The European Union on Tuesday urged Israel to carry out an inquiry into the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank.

"The European Union is saddened and concerned by the killing," said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

"We call on the Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and thoroughly investigate the incident," added spokesman Michael Mann.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert Serry and UK Foreign Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt also urged Israel to investigate.

The Israeli army said an inquiry was already under way.

"The military police has opened an investigation regarding the issue, and upon its conclusion will pass its findings to the military advocate general for review," it said in a written response to an AFP query.

The incident took place after soldiers entered the camp before dawn on Monday and clashes broke out, Palestinian officials said.

"Residents of Qalandiya camp were preparing themselves for the first day of Ramadan and going to the dawn prayers, when they were met by Israeli forces which violently stormed the camp to conduct illegal arrests and kidnapping of residents," the Palestinian Government Media Center said.

Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina condemned the killings in a statement to government news agency WAFA, calling them "an Israeli attempt to escalate the situation before September."

The Palestinians plan to approach the United Nations in September for membership for a Palestinian state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, a move strongly opposed by Israel.

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