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Abbas, Kerry discuss Palestinian-Israeli peace track

Kerry expressed his condolences for the death of [senior Palestinian official] Ziad Abu Ein

Abbas, Kerry discuss Palestinian-Israeli peace track


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the latest developments in Palestinian-Israeli relations in a Friday phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, according to the Palestinian news agency.

"During a phone call with President Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his condolences for the death of [senior Palestinian official] Ziad Abu Ein and stressed the importance of continuing peace efforts," Palestine's state-run WAFA news agency reported.

Kerry said he would be "holding meetings with European foreign ministers," without specifying which ones, WAFA reported.

Abbas also received a phone call from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, during which the latter extended his "warmest condolences for Abu Ein's death."

Davutoglu also discussed the reconstruction of the war-battered Gaza Strip during his conversation with Abbas, WAFA reported.

For seven weeks in July and August, Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from the Hamas-run coastal strip.

The offensive left some 2,160 Palestinians dead and 11,000 others injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while destroying vast swathes of infrastructure across the territory.

Israel also destroyed thousands of homes and facilities across Gaza, worsening humanitarian conditions for the strip's 1.8 million residents.

At an October donor conference, several Arab and European countries pledged a combined $5.4 billion for the strip's reconstruction.

Abu Ein died Wednesday when Israeli troops dispersed a demonstration against the expansion of Jewish-only settlements and Israel's separation wall.

On Thursday, Saber al-Aloul, head of the Palestinian forensic institute, said that preliminary autopsy results had shown that Abu Ein's death had been causes by "a lack of blood to the heart, caused by a hemorrhage in the inner lining of the coronary artery – signs usually associated with anguish and stress."

Ehab Bseiso, a Palestinian Authority spokesman, said "the Israeli government is responsible for the death of Abu Ein."

In a report issued by the Israeli prime minister's office, Israel's Health Ministry said that a preliminary autopsy report had shown that the cause of Abu Ein's death had been a "blocked coronary artery."

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