US defense secretary urges Israeli “de-escalation on West Bank”

 Amid rising Palestinian turbulence, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone on Friday with Defense Minister Yoav Galant. According to the Pentagon readout, he “encouraged de-escalation of tensions in the West Bank” following the IDF arrest raid this week on the Nablus Casbah, in which 11 Palestinians were killed, including wanted men and a notorious Lion’s Cubs terrorist. Austin underscored “the steadfast US commitment to Israel’s security and its right to defend its citizens from terrorism.”

Friday night, Palestinian bottle bombs were hurled at an IDF post in Hebron and a drive-by shooting targeted another post in Samaria. There were no casualties. Thousands of Palestinian staged disorderly rallies in support of the Lion’s Cubs in the territory, including Ramallah, on the Gaza border and in Lebanon, under the slogan: “Drop the olive branch. Long live the gun!”

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