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US Still 'Can't Determine if Hamas is Responsible' for Murders

US State Dept. admits investigation indicates Hamas is behind the abduction but doesn't point fingers, reiterates call for 'restraint.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 7/1/2014, 10:17 PM

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest
Reuters

The US State Department on Tuesday commented on the murder of three Israeli teens, on the same day the funeral for the three was held in the attendance of hundreds and thousands of Israelis.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf struck a cautious tone over who was to blame for the kidnapping, asserting that "the investigation of the abduction and murder indicates the involvement of Hamas in the affair, but at this stage we have not determined that Hamas is responsible."

The statement was reported by Yedioth Aharonoth's Washington correspondent Yitzhak Ben-Horin.

Harf's ambivalent comment comes despite the IDF's announcement last Thursday of the identities of the two main Hamas terrorists behind the abduction, Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha.

Additionally Josh Earnest, the White House Deputy Press Secretary and Special Assistant to US President Barack Obama, said "Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are cooperating in the investigation."

"The fact is that Hamas and Palestinian leaders praised the abduction, and the reaction of the Israeli government is understandable; however, the two sides are obligated to prevent an escalation in the situation," added Earnest.

Earnest's words mirror those of Obama, who on Monday urged "all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation. As the Israeli people deal with this tragedy, they have the full support and friendship of the United States."

Obama spoke following statements by the State Department and the White House, which limited themselves to a tepid “condemnation of violence” that appeared to apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.

The White House said that it “condemned the violence that has taken the lives of innocent civilians.”

The State Department, meanwhile, said that the murders were a “tragedy,” but called on “both sides to maintain patience and restraint.” The statement also urged Israel and the PA to continue their security cooperation.