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Mahmoud Abbas expresses condolences to Biden for American stabbed in Jaffa

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   March 10, 2016 at 10:08 AM
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JERUSALEM, March 10 (UPI) -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed condolences to Vice President Joe Biden for the stabbing death of an American in Israel, following Biden's strong criticism of the Palestinian leader for failing to condemn the attack.

U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, 29, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian man on Tuesday night in the Israeli city of Jaffa. Biden condemned the attack and the Palestinian Authority's failure to also condemn it.

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"Let me say in no uncertain terms: The U.S. condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts," Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday in Jerusalem. Abbas later expressed his condolences for Force's death but stopped short of condemning the attack itself during a meeting with Biden.

Abbas' comments mark the first time the Palestinian leader has indirectly or directly condemned bloodshed since the start of the escalation in violence in Israel between Palestinians and Israelis. Abbas told Biden that a two-state solution is the key to peace and stability in the region.

Force had served as an Army officer between 2009 and 2014 and completed tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The stabbing suspect, identified as Bashar Masalha, was a 22-year-old Palestinian man who had been living in the Qalqiliya refugee camp and was ultimately chased down and shot dead by police.

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